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The Goan coach backed his players following the defeat to Sporting Clube de Goa and mentioned of his desire to not participate in the IFA Shield…

Armando Colaco, the East Bengal gaffer, defended his team after their 2-1 defeat at the hands of Sporting Clube de Goa in their second group B game at the Federation Cup.

The Red and Gold were guilty of not converting the chances that came their way and in the end, paid a heavy price with The Flaming Oranje capitalizing on their mistakes at the back.

“All played well. I'm very happy the way the boys played. This is how I want them to play. Winning and losing is part of the game, but I could feel that everybody gave whatever they had. They expressed themselves on the ground and they enjoyed the game. Long balls in the first half and short passes in the second half - something really worthy that I have seen after a long time.

“We had seen this game in Bangalore (when East Bengal defeated Bengaluru in I-League). Today I got to see it again. There was a positive attitude among the players. They wanted to win, but somehow certain things don't happen the way you and I want,” he said.

Colaco stated that he was aware of the inadequacies of the squad and that it was only a matter of time before things became apparent for all to see.

“I always said that I was waiting for the bubble to burst. No excuses as both the teams played well. They (Sporting) also played a very good game. I will go and go [back to Kolkata] and ask my people (management) to see if we can give them (players) a good break so that they come fresh from all the injuries and recover from their tiredness.”

He refused to point finger at Uga Okpara who didn’t have the best outing and said,”
The only problem is, you will say 'Uga, Uga, Uga [Okpara]', but Uga gave his best. I love the way everybody played. We conceded both the goals on the left side, but I don't want to talk about the negative side.

“Uga is not fit, but how will I make him fit? If I don't give him the match confidence, when will he play? You see everybody wants to know why Uga is not fit. But then, I had Gurwinder [Singh] with some problems. Raju [Gaikwad] played well in the right [back].”

Colaco took credit for Lalrindika Ralte being deployed in the middle of the park where he gave a decent account of himself.

“I'm happy that I created a new player today. Where did Dika (Lalrindika Ralte) play? He controlled everything in there.”

On being asked specifically as to what went wrong for his side, Colaco opined, “
We went wrong because we couldn't convert chances they had three chances, they converted two. We had so many chances and we couldn't convert. Football is all about creating chances and scoring. If you don't score then you have to pay the price.”

East Bengal have been one of the most successful sides in the Federation Cup in the last decade or so while Colaco has only won the competition once in his time at Dempo SC.

“I am a bad omen to East Bengal [in the Federation Cup], because when I got the Federation Cup remember Cristiano Junior had died. Thereafter, I never fared well in the Federation Cup. Maybe that omen continues with me. Now there is nothing else that we can do. So we will focus on the I-League.”

James Moga failed to find the back of the net despite being at the end of some good moves initiated from the middle of the park.

“It's very easy for us to talk…mouth talks. He (James Moga) worked so hard. If you really go to see, he was the one who has really worked hard. He had so many chances to score. Poor fellow is crying there. He kept on trying till the end, but unfortunately he couldn't get a goal.”

He added that if given a choice, he would like to avoid participating in the IFA Shield.

“I will request my officials in Calcutta (Kolkata) to stay away from this tournament because they have to also honour it. After all, it is premier football tournament. It won't be possible, but I will request. If it happens well and good,” he mentioned.

Should Rangdajied United fail to win or draw against Sporting Clube de Goa in the first game on Tuesday, East Bengal’s slim chances of progression into the semi-final will go up in smoke. In that case, Colaco could field young players against the southern side.

“I will try to put my youngsters. Next game [against Bengaluru FC], I'll try to put my youngsters and see because I've got nothing to lose.”

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