Speaking to the press after a gut-wrenching loss to Aizawl FC which saw Brandon Vanlalremdika pop up with a late winner for the home side, DSK Shivajians boss Dave Rogers blasted his team's defensive display.
"If you don’t defend crosses in football, you are going to concede and to lose to a goal so late is not acceptable. We need to start learning how to kill a game off. If you don’t concentrate for 90 minutes, you will be punished," he fumed.
When asked about his decision to withdraw youngsters Lallianzuala Chhangte and Jerry Mawihmingthanga after the first half, the Pune-based team's coach felt he was protecting the youngsters by taking them off. "It was a tactical decision. I’m here to make changes if I feel the boys have not performed to the desired level. Sometimes when your young players are struggling, you need to take them out at the right time," he explained.
The Englishman also felt that his team deserved to get a point, even though they came up with one of their poorest displays in the league so far. "It was a scrappy game. Both teams did not deserve to win the game. At the end of the day, Aizawl have done a good job. I wish them all the best. We just need to get back home and recover," he said.
"For the first 65 minutes, we were poor. We were not at the races but for the final 20 minutes, we were the stronger team. But if you don’t defend, you get punished," he added before brushing off suggestions that DSK Shivajians were overly defensive in the first half.
"I don’t play a defensive system. That’s not our game. We created chances from crosses and set pieces. Dave Rogers doesn’t play defensive!"
He also took a thinly-veiled dig at the standard of refereeing in the league. "I think there were a couple of bad decisions for either teams in the match. If we are going to improve the football here, it’s not just the coaches or players who have to improve. We need to take a long look at the whole situation," he claimed.
The victorious coach, Khalid Jamil, gave his players the credit for keeping on going until the very last moments of the game. "My players are mature and they know the job they have to do. The credit for the win goes to all of them," he said in delight.
Jamil also seemed concerned by the injury suffered by his playmaker Mahmoud Al Amna in the first half, attributing it to the tight schedule of the league. "Al Amna has a small injury and we will see tomorrow what happens. Maybe (it happened) because of the tight schedule. The time for recovery is very less. We could have finished the game much earlier if Amna was not injured," he claimed.
He also praised the matchwinner, Brandon Vanlalremdika and William Lalnunfela who replaced Al Amna midway through the first half. "I’m happy with William (Lalnunfela) and Brandon (Vanlalremdika). They did good jobs both defensively and attack wise. Brandon showed his quality. He is mentally strong," he highlighted.