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It was difficult to adjust to the Duler ground, claims Air India assistant coach Anthony Fernandes

It was difficult to adjust to the Duler ground, claims Air India assistant coach Anthony Fernandes

Anselm Noronha

The Goan disclosed that the club is set to appoint a new head coach for which a few names have been shortlisted...

Air India conceded four goals in less than 15 minutes in their last I-League match against Salgaocar FC which was played at the Duler stadium in Goa, on Saturday.

"It was one of the bad matches that we have played, but the scoreline did not show the way we played," Anthony Fernandes rued. "We conceded around three goals in about five minutes which took the steam out of the team."

"It was difficult to adjust to this (Duler) ground. It is not so easy to just come out and play here and by the time we adjusted, we were already three goals down," he added.

The Air India interim coach also suggested that his side were not familiar to the ground in Goa and that it was too late by the time they did adjust to the Astroturf surface.

"Compared to what we were preparing, we thought it would be like a normal ground. We were practicing for about five-to-six days, but here on the turf we practiced only for an hour or so," he pointed out.

"We should have done much better than what the scoreline showed given the way we were prepared and that everybody was focused," Fernandes added.

Elaborating further, he said, "It was a close encounter, but the gap (minutes) of conceding the goals was too close which was bad for our defence. On the whole, the team didn't play to the potential of what Air India can play.

"I'm not only blaming the ground, as the ground is the same for them also, but they have played some matches over here so they are used to it."

Air India are aiming for a top five finish, according to Anthony Fernandes who has also revealed that the Mumbai-based outfit could soon appoint a head coach.

"We are targetting a top five position. Being realistic, we are first trying to avoid relegation.

"There are a couple of coaches who have been shortlisted. Naushad Mussah is one of them, who has done his 'A'-License coaching license and is currently coaching the Mumbai FC U-19 team."

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