Kerala Blasters were thumped 6-1 by Mumbai City on Sunday evening courtesy of four goals from Modou Sougou and a strike apiece from Rafael Bastos and Matias Mirabaje.
Zakeer Mundapara was sent-off right at the end of the first half after he was cautioned for the second time. But head coach David James was satisfied with the performance that his team put up with 10 men and opined that the 6-1 scoreline is not a fair reflection of the proceedings.
"The second yellow I don't know. It wasn't clear. In the second half, we were 10 men but played like 12. Their performance deserved more. I am laughing it is ironic. They were time-wasting when they were 2-0 up. But you had some wonderful strikes which made it difficult to come back.
It was not a given-up performance and the 6-1 scoreline does not reflect that. Especially with 10 men in the second half. When a side is getting decisions against them and the opposition just rose more," stated James.
He did not mince words to express his displeasure with the quality of refereeing in the match.
"I am trying to work out what went wrong. Sougou was in an offside position running after the ball and ends up scoring the first goal. They scored some very nice goals in the second half.
It was tough to take because during 3-1 we had a clear-cut penalty claim. For some reason, it was seen as an advantage to play on in a crowded box. I am not sure how these decisions are made. It is tough to take the decisions going against us.
"Individuals are allowed to make mistakes and that is fine. But it is tough to take when your team is suffering. But I have to say that in the game against North East and Goa it was an 11 v 11 game. A fine line game and the offside decision gives them a goal. And Goa was denied a penalty on the other end.
"We want to win the ISL but today's result made it very very difficult. This is a learning curve. We got a young goalkeeper in Dheeraj who conceded six goals. We have to learn from it. You know you are as good as your opposition and with 53% possession, we went past them. This was a side which was trying to push forward and now we try to win the next game," said the former England international.
James backed his goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh and also his defenders even after conceding half-a-dozen.
"I know he is not happy. Six goals are not nice to concede even if some of the strikes were wonderful. But he has to learn. I think he is capable. It is a tough one for him but it was a very spirited performance which did not deserve six goals.
The first one I think it bounced in off the crossbar. The second one I think it went behind the defender which blind sighted the keeper. Another wonderful strike. The third one was a thunderbolt into the top corner. The fourth one was a bit of a mix-up.
If we had to get to the mythical 30 points we had to win today. We are not that kind of team who would lose 3-1 gracefully. When I look back on the match there will be some sadness about it for sure," signed off the coach.