Dempo’s Australian coach Arthur Papas was a seething man, after his team squandered a precious one goal lead to end up level against a Mumbai team that shifted a lot of scales to claw back the initiative.
The Goan outfit took the lead through Jeje Lalpekhlua from a corner in the third minute of time added on in the first half. However, Mumbai FC changed tactics mid-way through the second half and piled on the pressure in search of a late equalizer. It was in the 88th minute that a floated corner was headed in by Mumbai’s Anwar Ali.
Papas in a post-match interview said that he wasn’t happy with his side's display throughout the match.
“The small details are costing us at the moment. This is the second week in a row we’ve conceded through a cheap goal. We scored the goal, but we should have sorted out the ball from the corner, so we have a situation where we have a corner but the markings not good enough. In all honesty, I wasn’t happy even when we went 1-0 up in the first half,” was the reply from a sombre Papas, who felt his team were responsible for letting two points slip away.
When he was confronted with the fact that his team just weren’t fluid enough going forward, he replied, “There’s not enough mobility. There’s not enough movement off the ball and also the speed of the boys was slow.”
Dempo's new signings haven't been impressive to say the least with the likes of Billy Mehmet, Simon Colosimo and Shinnosuke Honda yet to make a mark. Papas refused to accept that his foreigners hadn’t delivered and said, “Yes, but it also depends on what is happening around them. The movement around them needs to be there. Individuals don’t always play well on their own. If they get the ball straight from defence, I don’t expect them to do much.”
He believed that a radical shift from training young guns at Pailan Arrows to training veterans at Dempo hasn’t affected his style or method of coaching. “Not at all. I had that in Australia. My team was always the top in Australia, so you know that really isn’t a problem. It’s got something to do with mindset, and you know to be honest, you have to work harder.
"One of the things we (Pailan Arrows) had last year was work ethic, on the ball, off the ball and defensively. Today the opposition started playing the ball from the half-way line in the latter stages and there wasn’t any pressure from my players on the ball. So, eventually you’re going to keep dropping and dropping. That’s what happened."
Speaking on Mumbai FC, Papas acknowledged that the opposition changed their formation during the game but added that their foreigners too need to gel.
“They changed formation rapidly, their substitutions were spot on, play was unorthodox. Sometimes they play a back three, sometimes its five, sometimes its four. They changed quite a bit. They played well, but Khalid (Jamil) has a lot of work to do though he has still to integrate his foreigners and extract the maximum from his players. They played well,” stated Papas.
Citing his frustration at the lack of momentum shown by his cavalry, Papas was seen hurling a chair at the final whistle. On being nagged on this regard, Papas elucidated, “I’m very frustrated. There’s things you can find a reason to explain how we ended up one-all today with the chances we had. The game showed we have been sewn up and finished. So it’s very frustrating.”
He reprimanded even the thought of comparing the Dempo SC of yesteryear’s to the team of today. “I think it’s foremost to not compare the Dempo of four or five years ago to the team of today. Then, we had seven or eight fully fledged Indian internationals.
"Today we have only two, so we aren’t the same Dempo. We have Myron (Fernandes), who played today and Sahil on the bench. We have younger boys coming through. So I think it’s better if we compare this Dempo to the Dempo of the second half of last season. My Pailan Arrows boys beat them too.”
He did rue the miss of an influential midfielder like Climax Lawrence who could control the tempo of the game and stated that it wasn’t his decision to sell him.
“I think (Haroon) Amiri up front, who himself was quite mobile and powerful in the air he gave (Okro) Essien enough support in front of goal. But I think we lost the goal on pure lack of concentration.”
When asked if his Dempo team were title challengers, the uber-honest Papas owned up and said, “Based on today, no our team will not decide where the title will go. I’ve always been very honest and don’t look for excuses but based on what I’ve seen today, the reality is that.
“If we play the way we played today and if that’s our best, we’re going to be in the bottom. But yes, we will improve. But what I mean is I’m not satisfied with my team’s performance today. I don’t blame the players, but admittedly I felt we played better against Shillong where we lost three nil.”Finally he chose not to comment on any of his transfer dealings.