A dejected Trevor Morgan remarked that his team deserved the loss against the Churchill Brothers side after an out of form East Bengal side lost 0-3 in the crucial I-League encounter at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata. This win took the Goan side a few steps closer to the title and made the Kolkata side slip even further in the league table.
When asked whether he was disappointed by the team’s approach, Morgan told, “We were never in the game except possibly the first 15 minutes. I expected that the team will repeat their performance of the last Mumbai FC match. But, the lack of commitment from the players cost us the points.”
The British coach seemed quite frustrated about the outcome and was particularly unhappy given that the players didn't do the tasks assigned. “I don’t have any feeling about this match. The players should know their tasks well. The third goal was scored because nobody marked Akram (Moghrabi). When I asked the boys, who was supposed to mark him, nobody raised his hand. These scenarios are the least expected ones.”
He also conceded the fact that this was his worst match while being at the helm of the Red and Gold in almost three seasons. He went on to deny the fact that the pressure of it being a crucial match took its toll on the players.
“See, in professional football, there is pressure in every game. There is nothing called an 'easy match'. I don’t think that the boys crippled due to the hype around the match. We were not in the game and that’s it.”
In the first half of the season, East Bengal used to field two defensive midfielders in Harmanjot Khabra and Mehtab Hussain, who took shielded the defense from the opponent attacks. Morgan has now injected more attacking midfielders in action with Cavin Lobo and Lalrindika Ralte being handed starts. However, according to the East Bengal coach, the change of system cannot be held responsible for the defensive failure.
“We have been playing in this formation for the last three-to-four matches. I don’t think there was any problem for the players to get used to it. You don’t lose a match because your midfielders were bad in defending. The defense had its role in conceding the goals. The first goal, as many will agree was from an offside position. But these are part of the game. You can’t complain about them. The second goal was marvelous. I expect that Henry would have been marked well, but that didn’t happen. About the third goal, the least be said, it’s better. It was a complete disgrace.”
The East Bengal coach, in true sportsman spirit, however hailed the opponent after the match and said, "Churchill has dominated the game. They were good in counter-attack. The boy playing centre-back (Bilal Najarine) was superb. Henry and Beto were also outstanding upfront. They were playing good football today.”
When asked about his team's chances of winning the I-League, Morgan conceded that the going would be tough given that they can ill afford to lose or draw a game henceforth. “We have 27 points more to acquire. I will still say that the title hopes are alive, but obviously it has now become very hard. We had earlier lost points in matches we had dominated. Like in the Mumbai FC match (in Pune) or the ONGC match in Delhi, we should have won it comprehensively. These points make the difference in the long run. However I must say that if we continue to play like this, we will end up finishing just above the relegation zone," the coach blasted.
Morgan also informed that the first team players will not be rested in the game on Tuesday. “One has to earn holidays. I can’t give them rest after such a dismal performance. Also many are saying that the lack of a second positive striker is going against us. I don’t agree to that. Chidi (Edeh)has been marvellous. The failure has occurred only due to the fact that we could not play according to our plans.”
East Bengal will play their next I-League match against a strong Pune FC side away at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex. Their problems have only been compunded as Uga Okpara will not be available for the tie due to suspension.
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