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Chennaiyin FC, FC Goa aim for winning start to Indian Super League 2017-18

Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa have enjoyed good pre-season campaigns under new managers, making their Indian Super League 2017-18 fixture a highly-anticipated one for fans of both sides

indian super league 2017 Updated: Nov 18, 2017 19:42 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Chennai
Chennaiyin FC,FC Goa,Indian Super League 2017-18
Chennaiyin FC appointed John Gregory as coach this season and the side will look to start the Indian Super League (ISL) with a win vs FC Goa. (PTI)

Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa step into a new era of sorts when they begin their campaign in the fourth edition of Indian Super League (ISL) under new coaches after a forgettable third season, with a game at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium here tomorrow.

Both Chennaiyin FC coach John Gregory and FC Goa coach Sergio Lobera sounded upbeat about their preparations, saying that pre-season had been very good and the players were looking forward to the first game.

Gregory, who has taken over from Italian Marco Materazzi, said the team had prepared well and would put up a good show while stressing the importance to start well.

READ | Indian Super League 2017/18: Chennaiyin FC look to regain lost form

“We are in pretty good shape. We have 25 players in the squad, unfortunately we had lost four players away for three weeks (on national duty), which disrupted our plans.. It is about being able to do what you do in the training ground in the match.”

He also said all the hard work in pre-season was one thing but the opening game would be the real test.

“We have had a good pre-season but all starts on Sunday. That is when it matters,” he added.

Gregory said 21-year old midfielder Germanpreet Singh, who took a knock during the AFC qualifier against Myanmar, may not start tomorrow’s game, but hoped he would be available for the November 23 encounter against NorthEast United FC.

READ | Indian Super League 2017-18: FC Goa aim to win maiden championship

“We have a 25-man full squad from which we can pick the starting XI. Germanpreet came back from national team with a little bit of a knock. He may not make a start in tomorrow’s game. Hope we can have him back for the second match,” he said.

The Englishman said the team would have a very pragmatic approach for the season ahead and wanted to reward the fans for sticking by them through thick and thin, by producing results.

“You wanna start well.. Obviously, for our fans who stood by us during through thick and thin.. They will be here in their droves and there will be a great atmosphere at the stadium.. Want to reward our fans, who stuck by us through a difficult year (last year),” he said.

The Goa team, which is rebuilding after the exit of the legendary Zico as coach and a poor run in the 2016 edition, will also be aiming for a good start.

READ | ISL 2017-18: Kerala Blasters, ATK play out insipid goalless draw in opener

Sergio Lobera said he was looking forward to the new season after the good pre-season and added he was happy with the overall composition of the team.

The Spaniard said it was important for the players to play a style of football that was best suited to them and would bring the results.

First Published: Nov 18, 2017 16:53 IST