'It's an I-League for us to lose' - Armando Colaco

Armando Colaco after the 1-1 draw against United SC said that his players need to quickly regain their fitness...
After the high of winning his debut Kolkata derby against Mohun Bagan, Armando Colaco was introduced to the harsh realities after his team scrapped to a 1-1 draw against United SC.

On being asked to assess the game, Armando said that missing chances was a part of football and he had to accept it.

"I told earlier also that United is a team that keeps the shape and they did it. 
Sometimes open sitters don't go in. Lenn's (Seimenlen Doungel) cross was the best I have seen. So, these things happen."

While at first refusing to comment about Chidi Edeh being booked for a dive in the first half where replays showed clear contact by Ishan Debnath, Armando affirmed that the referee should have given a penalty.
"No comments about the penalty. I don't give excuses like other coaches but let me be honest. Any tripping inside the area is a penalty. But the game is over now."

Commenting on the equaliser they conceded, Armando thought Uga Okpara and goalkeeper, Abhijit Mondal were equally in blame for letting in such a soft goal. 
"It was a very soft goal to concede. Uga is our best marker and he allowed Dhanchandra (Singh) to head. Then Abhijit let the ball in. And then Chidi and (Ryuji) Suoeka's miss. At least Chidi's ball should have gone in."

Armando also raised doubts whether Saumik Dey and Harmanjot Khabra will play in their next game against Mumbai FC.
"Difficulty has arisen because of injuries to the players. Both Saumik and Khabra are out with hamstring injuries. I doubt whether Soumik and Khabra will be playing in the next match. If Khabra is not there, I don't know what's going to happen. Mehtab also not there as the doctor has prescribed 7 days of complete rest."
Colaco was however very critical of the artificial turf at the Salt Lake Stadium which he slammed for being not at all player friendly.
"I always saw for any team that practices here and plays here, it's really bad. The players will never have a long run in career. It's a ground for all weather conditions and for football it's very difficult. It's very hard for the knees, the hamstrings and the ankles. But nobody understands that. What can I do?"

However in spite of the myriad injuries, Colaco was impressed with the players who were ready to play in any position that the team needed.

"The way things are today, I will try to put someone in the midfield. I had similarly put Beto in the midfield (at Dempo) and he is doing wonders. The players are also giving me confidence. 'Coach you can put me anywhere and I will play', that's what they are saying. If I have no other player, I will put young Subodh Kumar there."
When asked whether being everyone's favourite for the title put extra pressure on them, Colaco said that he knows it all too well and that East Bengal do have the best team in the division which was the reason he had chosen to accept the job. He also noted that the team should concentrate more on the AFC Cup than the local competitions which they regularly win.
"It is an I-League for East Bengal to lose. The players I have are all class. I came to East Bengal because I know the players and I believe in their capabilities. But the fitness level is such that you can't do anything, especially with matches on every alternate day. The gap we had is for Federation Cup and IFA Shield. Now everybody should understand, what do we want. That's why I said after winning the I-League, we should concentrate in the AFC Cup. This is a fact. The IFA Shield East Bengal has won. So, give a break and get ready for the I-League."
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