Arthur Papas: What we lacked today was a goal and not chances

The Australian coach mentioned that they lacked a definitive touch in the final third but did well to restrict their opponents

Dempo SC bounced back after their disappointing 3-1 defeat to Bengaluru FC last week by putting up a decent performance in the 0-0 draw against Mohun Bagan on Saturday.

Arthur Papas, the coach of Dempo SC, was all praise for his Goan outfit who failed to nick a goal despite having most of the ball.

“I thought overall, it was a well-controlled performance. Definitely, our organization was a lot better. We had less distance between the lines and more contact. I thought the changes we made were positive, before the game. The substitutions were positive. Holicharan [Nazary] came on and had an impact on the game. What we lacked today was a goal but we didn’t lack chances. We had a lot of chances, be it set-pieces or open play. I think they (Bagan) had two or three opportunities throughout the 90 minutes which translates to a dominant performance that lacked the finish by us,” explained the 33-year-old.

Speaking of Billy Mehmet’s profligacy in the front of goal as the player has scored just once which was also a penalty, Papas defended the player elucidating, “He definitely had his chances today. The crazy thing is that he was getting into position to have a chance, that’s what we worked on all of this week. Also he had players around him that complemented him a little bit better in the attacking part of the ground, especially when Alwyn [George] came on. Also when Holi came on, I thought his shooting was a bit off as well.”

“We just looked like having had a bit more in the final third, without getting the goal. I believe that at the end of the day, if you get that many chances and you restrict the opponents having many chances, then in the end it will be okay. At the moment it doesn’t look like that. I’m pleased with the performance and the reaction considering last week’s game,” he added.

On being asked to comment on the performance of the youngsters, namely Alwyn George, Pronay Halder, Holicharan Narzary and Narayan Das, he had brought on loan from the All India Football Federation (AIFF), Papas said, “I was concerned with playing all four at the start because they haven’t played for five-and-a-half months. The risk was that if I started all of them and some of them cramped, I wasn’t sure how many I’d get through.

"That’d be tough as the game wore on and I’d be stuck. So I decided to look to the bench as you saw, with Pranoy and Narayan as well, I mean, they got through the ninety minutes and got through strongly. Credit to them for being out for so long from competitive football and when you compete, the professionalism to keep themselves in good condition and make an impact is commendable.”

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