East Bengal assistant coach Tony Grant wants the club to improve their recruitment process for next season after they succumbed to a 2-1 defeat against NorthEast United on Tuesday.
The Red and Golds lineup featured the likes of Haobam Singh and Ajay Chhetri as they went into the game with nothing except pride to play for. An entertaining second-half saw NorthEast United score twice before Raiju Gaikwad was sent off. Sarthak Golui scored a consolation goal for East Bengal.
Grant was critical of his team's performance and felt that his players lacked concentration in the second half.
"We sort of controlled the game in the first half. I didn't see them really cause us many problems. The goal came from a long ball. There was a little bit of lack of concentration, it was a rubbish goal to give away. It is all down to concentration and understanding of the game.
"We had a 20-minute spell where the lads fell apart and then got back in the game. The goal is not a good one to give away but it also highlights the capabilities of some (players)."
Grant believes the club needs to improve in the transfer market next season as the current squad is built to compete in the I-League.
"We tried young players, we had Jeje (Lalpekhlua) upfront and none of them had enough (quality), they never had enough. So recruitment is always key and these are the players we have had all season and this is the best they have looked. We weren't ready early in the season, now they had a chance and they had to show us but they couldn't show us (what they got).
"You have to be honest about football. Sometimes you have to make decisions. This team was put together for the I-League. We came in with two weeks with all these players. Most of these players have not played. I have been looking at the Indian U-23s and 19s to see how many East Bengal players they have in their squads and I can't find any. We need to be aggressive in the transfer market."
Sarthak Golui's own goal as a result of a poor clearance allowed NorthEast United to double their lead but Grant backed the defender.
"Sarthak in the Indian team and apart from his one mistake, he is a good player. We need to find many more Sarthaks, this is a big club. Recruitment has to be much better.
"Today's lineup wasn't an eye into the future, it was a reality check. We should have won more games, this is what we have got. I have seen players kick the ball off the field, I have seen players fall on them. We have to get better. "