Bhubaneswar, March 30 (IANS) Chennaiyin FC coach John Gregory feels that the recently crowned Indian Super League (ISL) champions have come to Bhubaneswar with nothing but the ‘intention of winning’ ahead of the Chennai-based outfit’s Super Cup campaign opener against Aizawl FC here on Saturday.
“The Super League season has ended. The euphoria of winning the final is already over and now we have another challenge right in front of us. We are a very professional outfit and we’re back to the ground now to focus on this tournament starting tomorrow with every intention of winning,” he said.
The ISL champions had played a pre-season friendly match against the previous I-League champions in October and Gregory mentioned that his team has a knowledge of the Highlanders’ capability on the pitch and how fierce the contest is going to be on Saturday.
“We played a pre-season game against them. We know a bit about them. They were very successful last season, became I-League champions. We are obviously aware of the fact that it’s going to be a fiercely contested game tomorrow,” the Englishman said.
Dhanpal Ganesh who is back from national team duty at the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers added: “We had enjoyed a lot after winning the ISL title but now we’re focusing on tomorrow’s match. It’s definitely going to be a tough challenge for us.”
Nonetheless, Gregory hinted that he might throw in a few new players into the ring on Saturday.
“In the ISL, we couldn’t experiment much as all the games were very crucial. There’s always a possibility of throwing 1-2 players with lesser experience into tomorrow’s game who couldn’t play before,” Gregory said.
On the other hand, Aizawl FC coach Santosh Kashyap stressed that the match is very evenly poised and his boys can spoil Chennaiyin FC’s party.
“We are a young team and we are pitted against one of the best teams. But anyone can beat anyone in a knock-out tournament. We’ll try to do our best and win tomorrow’s game,” he said.
“My players are fighters by heart. It’s a great opportunity and we’ll put the best effort to win the game. The boys are here to cope up with the new challenge. It’s nothing but a 50-50 before the game kicks off tomorrow. If we perform to our potential, we can beat them”, he added.
The former Mohun Bagan coach informed that David Lalrinzuala is injured and is not available.
Alfred Jaryan, the Liberian midfielder who led the Northeastern outfit to lifting their maiden Hero I-League trophy last season, asserted that the team is raring to go and show their worth once again.
“It is a new challenge and we’re ready for that. We have played in different tournaments and we believe that we can show our worth in the Hero Super Cup too,” he said.