Carles CuadratISL

ISL 2019-20: Carles Cuadrat - Referees are not doing their job

Since the beginning of this edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) the standard of refereeing has come under the scanner. Previously, Chennaiyin FC coach John Gregory lashed out at Pranjal Banerjee for not awarding a penalty to his side against FC Goa and now Carles Cuadrat has also raised questions about the quality of refereeing. 

In the match between Goa and Bengaluru referee Crystal John blew the final whistle with around 30-40 seconds still to go. Realising his mistake he recalled the players when some of them had already left the pitch. Cuadrat was evidently displeased with the actions of John and the coach expressed his annoyance before facing Jamshedpur on Sunday. 

"The league is working well. After four years I feel ISL is doing great. But we need to work on certain aspects. For me, the calendar is not the problem. Referees are not doing a great job. The standards are going down. There are some situations that cannot take place in any top tier of world football. Offside decisions especially. The ball is coming from an opponent and the referee flags that as offside. Penalties also. If you try to be impartial you cannot understand what is going in the mind of the referee and the linesman.

"Seriton (Fernandes) should not have been playing against us. He should have had a red card and a penalty. Yesterday there was a red card just five yards from the referee and it was not given. It is a big problem and it is affecting the tournament. Nothing to say about the penalty that we conceded. But after blowing the final whistle they ask us to play again. Sunil and Ashique were already on the bench. It was a very clear corner. We are good at set-pieces. What if they had scored from the longball after the corner? You have to be clinical and you cannot make such mistakes. It is an issue that needs to be addressed," criticized the coach. 

ISL Referee

On Wednesday, ATK coach Antonio Habas also raised questions on the decision making of the referees after the linesman wrongly raised his flag preventing Carl McHugh from further progressing with only the goalkeeper to beat. 

Cuadrat has come under flak for deploying Ashique Kuruniyan and Nishu Kumar out of their favoured position but the coach defended his tactics. 

"I don't agree when people think that Nishu is playing out of position. He is a right-footed full-back and that makes him comfortable in the right-back position. Ashique is a wonderful player. He can play in multiple positions. We have to find a place for him in the team. As Erik (Paartalu) and (Albert) Serran are out I want to put (Harmanjot) Khabra in the middle. So Ashique is being deployed as a left-back. Yes, he made a mistake. In football, you will learn from mistakes like the one he made on Monday.

"Gurpreet conceded a needless penalty in Goa a couple of years ago and we lost that game, Nishu did the same in Kerala, Khabra in NorthEast. These are lessons that football teaches you. But I have no doubt that Ashique is a player who can be a great LB. Questions were raised when Mandar was used a left-back and now he is in the national team. So it is a question of training. And over the years Bengaluru have produced some good left-backs." 

Juanan also supported his coach and said," I always speak with Ashique on the pitch and there's a lot of communication on the pitch. I'm trying to help him as much as possible, and the other players. I've played professional football for a long time and I understand the need for this. We're working really hard to stop all the big strikers who play against us. Goa have Corominas, but we managed to maintain him. NorthEast have Gyan but he had only one chance on the counter-attack. We're looking forward to Jamshedpur and hope to get a positive result."

The reigning champions have had a difficult start to the campaign after picking up only two points from their first two games. But Cuadrat is optimistic about his side's chances against Jamshedpur and he chose to focus on the positives from the Goa match. 

"A lot of positive things to take away from the Goa game. Last season, Goa lost five games and three of them were against us. I am proud of the way we played. Coro did not get any chance. My defenders read the situation well and stopped them from scoring. We have lost four points and now we have to mentally stronger than ever. It happens in football and we will come out stronger against Jamshedpur. They are really doing good. (Antonio) Iriondo is a very tactical coach and he is very humble. A good bunch of Spanish players. And Farukh (Choudhary) has started well. But we will be going to get the three points," concluded the ISL winning coach.