East Bengal suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Prayag United, which saw their 10-match unbeaten run in the I-League come to an end. It was the second defeat of the week for the team who had earlier lost a mid-week Calcutta Football League match against Aryan FC.
Trevor Morgan, the East Bengal coach, acknowledged that it was a bad in office for his players but also added that this defeat also doesn’t mean the end of the world for them.
“I wouldn’t say it (the defeat) was unfortunate. We have lost two consecutive games,” said Morgan.
However he sounded optimistic about his team’s chances in the league.“There is still a long way to go. We have only played 10 games (excluding the suspended one versus Mohun Bagan). We have more points than what we had in this stage last year. We have lost before. Now we can only bounce back. I thought today if we had buried the chances, we could have won.”
Morgan also lamented the fact that his team conceded from a mistake in the defence from a set-piece. He mentioned the match was quite even possession-wise and East Bengal should have capitalized on the half-chances they got.
“We were on the back-foot when the opponents were attacking in the first half. In the second half, our game changed and we were on the front-foot. We were punished for the single error we made. But that is all about football.”
When asked whether the set-piece movements of his team are getting predictable, he remarked, “The movement in the near post was not good today. If there is good delivery and good movement, we can definitely score from set-pieces.”
He also agreed to the fact that East Bengal lost the control in the midfield after the first 20 minutes. He singled out the performance of Prayag United’s Carlos Hernandez given that the Costa Rican midfielder keeps it simple in the middle of the park.
Morgan however defended his players saying they have only conceded two goals in 10 games and should not be alleged of lacking concentration. On being asked specifically as to who was responsible for allowing Ranti Martins to score, Morgan said, “It doesn't matter. Two goals in ten games - that is not a bad statistic. Sometimes players just switch off. Strikers get goals because they can anticipate and get in good positions. Uga Okpara had held his hand up saying he was responsible.”
The British coach also declined that the two defeats in a week have got anything to do with the controversies surrounding the derby last week. He claimed that his team will surely bounce back to winning ways in the coming matches. When asked about the cancelled goal of Penn, he opined that the linesman’s decision should be taken as final.
He mentioned of his disappointment about the way play was being stopped many times when East Bengal was attacking as Prayag players claimed to be injured and were up on their feet as soon as the ball was kicked out.
East Bengal now has 21 points from 10 matches with the fate of the suspended derby yet to be decided. With Churchill Brothers winning their match 4-1 today, the Kolkata side dips down to the third spot.
“I am not going to come out and criticize my players. No point getting downbeat. There is still a long way to go and we are one of the teams that can win the I-League,” he concluded.
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