East Bengal failed to make their chances count as the high profile tie ended in a stalemate. Churchill Brothers did enough to earn a point which didn’t help Armando Colaco’s side in their bid to win the league title this season.
On being asked what hasn’t worked for his team, Colaco said, “I really don't know. I tried to figure it out. I tried to speak to them. They don't pass to each other. Some kind of selfishness is there inside the team. But I won't take names. I don't want any more controversy, since we still have many matches to play this season.
“What is happening I don't know but I feel there is lot of discomfort in the dressing room. Players are not passing and taking long shots.”
Shylo Malswamtulunga had a chance at the death to seal full points for the Kolkata outfit but a poor first touch meant that the chance passed by.
“The players will never be a burden for me. I am a coach. Even Mama's first touch could have changed the game. Churchill is a good team, remember that. But in the second half, we had more of the ball. I want more of the short-passes, not the long balls. (Harmanjot) Khabra was brilliant in the right-back and I think Khabra will get that position now.”
He mentioned that there is still enough time for his team to mount a title challenge and took inspiration from Pune FC who fielded five academy boys in the 1-1 draw against Sporting Clube de Goa when as many as seven players were injured or suspended.
“There’s still a lot of games to go. Though there are a lot of teams who are far ahead of us, anything can happen anywhere. You have seen Pune FC without seven of their stars; they were one goal down and came back.
“We have to go out there and try to win. Let me be realistic. I removed Abhishek (Das) because he was having problems with the tall guy (Christian Lagos). But fortunately, they also removed him. I hope Abhishek does not carry this in mind.”
While Colaco highlighted that the performance was way better than what they dished out against Dhanmondi in the IFA Shield semi-final, they need to up their game when they face Dempo SC.
“Our display was much much better than the Dhanmondi match as we dominated the second half.
“The next match is a do-or-die clash. We have to face it and get those three points. Otherwise, it's hello and goodbye.”
He also gave an update on Uga Okpara who has recovered from an injury but isn’t fit to start as yet.
“Uga Okpara informed me that he is getting fit. But that's not match fitness.”
Colaco’s preference for short passing game is well known and with East Bengal preferring to take the aerial route, the former India coach assured that the style of play can only change next season should he continue to be at the helm of the club.
“It’s very difficult to play long balls as I have never coached it. We did this in Bengaluru also, where we tried to play long balls and get a goal and then go back to short passes.
“Now I can't change anything because if I change something, things may go from bad to worse. I have to be a little cautious here. If I stay here hopefully for the next year, things will change.”
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