“I don’t think we collapsed. Remember, Shillong Lajong is a strong team. They just came after a brilliant performance against a strong Pune FC. They should have won that game. Pune is a very strong team and had they won that game, they would have gone very close to the likes of East Bengal. So, we played a strong team today. Of course I am disappointed with the result and of course I am disappointed with the way we conceded the goals,” said Bencherifa.
With a mere ten points from their 17 matches so far, Bagan have nine more games to ensure that they avoid getting relegated at the end of the season.
“We will not give up fighting unless it becomes statistically impossible for us. We will keep trying. We will keep preparing ourselves for the next game. Today we had bad moments in the game, which cost us the full points. We will now try to win the Dempo match, which we are going to play in three days’ time. The good thing is we didn’t lose, because we are involved in a direct fight with them (Shillong Lajong). Had they won the match, they would have a great advantage over us. But now we have enough games left and we will try to overtake them,” the Bagan coach remarked.
The Moroccan claimed that he doesn't have any target in terms of total points to be accumulated from the remaining matches.
“We lost vital points. But we can’t do much about this. Like I said the manner in which we conceded was very disappointing. Lack of concentration is responsible for that. Also, our midfield didn’t work as we would have wanted. They had more physically strong players at the middle of the pitch. We were losing on almost every 50-50 ball. Still, our boys did their best and we didn’t flop. Also, Denson Devadas (who was suspended) has a vital role in our midfield. We missed him badly.”
On the other hand, Thangboi Singto, the Shillong Lajong coach also sounded confident of saving his side from going down into the second division.
“We have four games left. Two of them are home matches. If we can seal two wins, then we will reach 27 points. I hope, we will be safe then,” he opined.
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