'I'm playing with kids' - Hall criticises former United Sikkim coach Philippe De Ridder

The Australian coach was embarrassed by the 7-0 thrashing at the hands of the defending I-League champions...
United Sikkim FC coach Nathan Hall was disappointed with his team’s performance against Dempo SC as they were handed a 7-0humiliation over the weekend. This is for the second time this season that the Snow Lions had shipped in more than five goals after being thrashed 10-1 earlier in the campaign by Prayag United.

“Never in my life have I lost more than 3-0 ever, in any level of the game - as a player, as a coach. I'm disappointed, I'm embarrassed. It's showing now that we have no players. We have our two senior defenders who are injured, I lost my other defender after 15 minutes. I'm playing with kids.

“I'm playing with a squad that was built by Philippe De Ridder (former coach) with absolutely no balance. They have no experience. If we have three or four players out injured, I have big problems,” said Hall.

The Australian highlighted the lack of options on the bench which has come to hurt his side when faced with injury or suspension troubles.

“Most of the other top teams in the competitions have at least two players for each position. I don't have that. In my whole squad, I have three defenders and then academy players. So you look at my team as compared to Dempo, I've got 18-year-olds and 19-year-olds. They have 27-year-olds with experience,” he pointed.

Hall is set to add a couple of players to his rosters given that they desperately need some vigour which shall aid in their quest for points.

“I'm bringing in a player next week, and another the week after. I'll sign them directly. I've got no time for trials. I need players who can come in now and be counted for and do a job. It’s as simple as that,” he mentioned.

"Philippe De Ridder didn't do a good job"

Nathan Hall once again took a swipe at former coach De Ridder for putting together a squad over the summer which lacked stability.

"Anwar [Ali] is injured, Sandesh [Jhingan] injured, Safar [Sardar] injured, Michael [Rodriguez] injured. I'm playing an 18-year-old academy boy from Sikkim (Sonam Bhutia) who has never played in an occasion like this in his life. I can't believe that a squad that has absolutely no balance was put together in the first place,” he highlighted the state of affairs at the club.

However Hall hasn’t lost hope for his side as yet as he believes that they have some games against the fellow bottom placed sides where they do have a realistic chance of snatching points.

“We need to move forward. We need to find a way to get these boys up and beat the teams around us. These matches (against top teams) don't matter. What matters is Pailan Arrows, Shillong Lajong and ONGC FC in two weeks time.

“I'm not giving up. I come from a country where every single day we fight for our lives. We keep pushing the limits. I'm trying to show the players that direction. We can't give up. We need to keep fighting and work for each other. Otherwise, we are going to get relegated. As soon as we throw the towel, it's goodbye. I'm going to keep fighting until it's mathematically impossible (for us),” said Hall.

It’s not difficult to point that their defense has been wayward all throughout the season given that they have the dubious record of having conceded 37 goals, the most in the league, in 16 matches. Hall called for his senior players to lead from the front and take more responsibility to guide the youngsters.

“I know this is a good team. I know this is a one-off. I know it was a bad day. I need senior defenders who can lead the troops, who can organise the players. The other problem in Indian football is that the players are too shy. They don't talk. I look at the USA and Australia - they don't have a talented national team but have a hard-working national team. We just have got to learn to communicate with each other, just the basics - press, cover, hold, come back. It's an issue. We need to find a way to turn it around,” he signed off.

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