Mohun Bagan coach Santosh Kashyap doesn't believe that pressure on him has mounted following the Green and Maroons shambolic Federation Cup campaign where they failed to get past the group stages. He states that the club management have backed him to change their fortunes in the I-League.
"I don't feel any pressure, as I'm putting in effort from my side," he told Goal.com. "But I have to accept reality. If I don't perform to the level expected of me, then I'm answerable to the management and the club."
Speaking in the aftermath of Mohun Bagan's group stage exit, Kashyap felt that Bagan had to contend with bad luck even before the tournament began.
"Fitness was our main concern as suddenly 12-to-13 players were affected by a bout of dengue and viral fever, thus not allowing them to prepare for the tournament," he reflected.
Star striker Odafa Okolie wasn't in prime condition too and that did affect Kashyap's side in the tournament. "He was half-fit and was taking pain-killers just so he could play in the tournament," he revealed.
Trying to reason out why his team were knocked out of the competition, he felt that those fitness issues haunted his team big time. "Tolgay aggravated his muscle, pulling up in the opening match of the competition, due to the poor ground conditions, which kept him out for the remainder of the tournament. Also Sabeeth and Anil (Kumar) were still recovering."
He was full of praise for the youngster Sabeeth."We were over-reliant on him during the tournament but he still played well keeping his capabilities in mind.”
Kashyap has identified the strengths and wekanesses of his side and believes that shall aid him in planning for the rest of the season.
"Despite our hampered preparations in pre-season, our team played well in the tournament where we created many chances in all our matches," he inferred from the cup campaign. "The injuries hit us badly in the striker department, which didn’t enable us to finish those chances, but I will still take a lot of positives from this tournament. Such tournaments help in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the team. So I'll be able to plan ahead now for the I-League."
Speaking more about the effect of injuries to his strikers on his gameplan, the former Air India gaffer was of the opinion that it was all a part of the game.
"I definitely have to change my strategy in such situations, as I did in our last match, where I fielded a lone striker. That paid off as we scored goals."
"As a coach, I have to see that our side is creating chances and that their overall play should be good. Definitely we have to look after players' health too."
Kashyap also added that there are some things beyond one's control.
"Hitting the post three-or-four times during a game, a penalty incident, or cases of injuries and sickness, these are some of the things that are outside the control of the coach."
But he was optimistic ahead of their I-League campaign."My main concern is that my players should recover as they've been travelling a lot. Also now I've now got time to work on our strengths and weaknesses. So I'm looking forward to our I-League meeting with Shillong Lajong on matchday one."
How do you stay up with football when on the move? With http://m.goal.com –your best source for mobile coverage of the beautiful game.