John Gregory’s Chennaiyin FC will be looking to bounce back from their 3-2 loss to FC Goa in their opening fixture when they welcome NorthEast United to Chennai later today.
NorthEast themselves will be looking to improve on their 0-0 draw with Steve Coppell’s Jamshedpur FC – a match which NorthEast dominated.
John Gregory has held his hands up over the initial tactics in the Goa match, which saw Chennaiyin trail 3-0 before making a fine comeback.
Germanpreet Singh is expected to be back for the hosts, who could well lineup in a 343 formation.
NorthEast United are expected to play Rowlin Borges in the only change from their opening fixture.
NorthEast will be looking for a more clinical edge to their performance, as despite having plenty of attacking impetus against Jamshedpur there was minimal quality on the final ball.
Joao de Deus said in the pre-match press conference,
“About the previous game (against Jamshedpur FC), we did not score. The first thing is that it is a problem if you don’t create chances. But we had a lot of chances and so it is not a problem. We know how to improve. I’m not worried at all that we did not score. I know that at the end of the league, we will have the top goalscorer in the league. I’m not worried at all.”
It’s a bold claim from the Head Coach, but so much of NorthEast’s play at the weekend suggests he might have a point.
John Gregory told reporters he couldn’t wait to get back on the pitch.
“First thing you want to do after a loss is get back on the field and put it right. Thankfully, we get our chance very quickly. It cant come quick enough. The game has come along at the right time.”
The Chennaiyin boss also highlighted NorthEast’s threat from set-pieces,
“They are a big side physically and we need to be aware of their set pieces. They take very good set pieces”.
Ultimately, Chennaiyin will hope to see more of the second-half performance and less of the first. For NorthEast United, if they can turn some of their stats busting play into end product then they genuinely could be a dangerous side in this season’s competition.
Either way, neither team would wish to be leaving the field of play at the final whistle without a win as in an 18 game season two matches without a victory is a very, very long time if you are aiming for the playoffs.