Hyderabad FC coach Phil Brown has called for patience from the club owners after seeing his team succumb to their seventh loss in 10 matches in the ongoing Indian Super League (ISL) season, after a 2-1 reverse away to Mumbai City FC on Sunday.
After the loss, Hyderabad FC are currently propping up the table with just five points and have a telling goal difference of -11. Against Mumbai, Hyderabad were poor up front, failing to create chances of note, and allowed Mumbai to race into a two goal lead before Bobo helped them pull a goal back. But it would not be enough to prevent a loss.
Brown claimed that he was hurt at the situation and promised to turn the club's fortunes around in January if the owners show patience to stick with him.
"If the owners stay with me, I would reward them by making changes in the January transfer window that will instil a little bit of pride in the club," he stated.
"We are at the bottom of the league and it hurts me. We had an opportunity to win the game a few times and tonight but we didn’t take it. We had an opportunity against Odisha FC, FC Goa, and Bengaluru FC and we didn’t take them. And these are some of the top clubs in the league. It shows a lack of character, something I need to address, if given the opportunity," he made a case for himself.
The Englishman also felt that Hyderabad's problem is down to their mentality rather than ability.
"I think the problem is mental strength. That’s not pertaining to an individual, it’s a collective problem. I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for themselves. I can’t say we are good enough at the moment. You got to look at the league table and face facts, face reality.
"If it’s the head-coach, change the head-coach. If it’s the players, change the players. But if the ownership stays with the head-coach, I’m sure I’ll do something about it in the second half of the season,” he said.
The 60-year-old did state that his side did enough to deserve a positive result in Mumbai and lamented his side's wasteful finishing, especially in the second half. He also highlighted his team's inability to keep a cleansheet this season as a reason for the dismal start to the campaign.
"I think we did well to exploit their weaknesses on numerous occasions. We did enough to win this game, with no fear of contradiction. If Jorge Costa was sitting here, I would say the exact same thing. He is a tactician. His team’s play gets him over the winning lane. That’s something we need to learn to do.
"We go two goals behind and then we were in the ascendency. The chances were coming to the players we wanted to. But we didn’t take those chances. Getting back in the game at 2-1 (81') was a bit too late. By conceding goals, you’re not going to win a game. You need to arrest the situation by keeping cleansheets. We have goals in the team. We will create chances with the front-three," Brown explained.
Brown was also very vocal about the way he felt that Mumbai City players 'bullied' the referee on occasions and stopped short of calling Jorge Costa a 'cheat' after stating his displeasure at the time-wasting tactics employed by the home team. He also felt the referees are not respected enough in India.
"My thoughts on the referees are simple. They need to get it right, they need to be in control of the game. They are not bossing the game. The players surround the referee on many occasions and pressure him. I don’t think anyone in Indian football are showing the referee enough respect. They are playing under pressure and are making far too many mistakes.
"The players need to treat the referees as a third team and show them enough respect. I call it cheating. I’m not calling Jorge Costa a cheat. A player goes down on the right side of the field of play and leaves on the left side. The referee spotted it right away and he didn’t do anything about it. Only way to deal with a cheat is fighting fire with fire. We are going to keep the ball next time it goes out, no matter who kicks it out," said an angry Brown.
"It’s the only league in the world where the ball is in play for less than half the game. That’s not a spectacle. In the Premier League, it’s more than two thirds. I’m not saying it’s the best division but when you’re watching a game of football, you’re seeing at least 60 minutes of play. It’s less than 45 here. That is wrong, that is cheating and it needs to be addressed," he added.