Former India international Subhash Bhowmick expressed his disappointment over India’s performance in their last match of the Asian Cup 2019 against Bahrain which saw them crashing out of the competition.
The former East Bengal coach said, “I am very disappointed. Not because they got knocked out but the way they played and their approach towards the game. They took unnecessary pressure. I don't know why did they start the match so defensively? Especially when they played bright football in the past two matches. Moreover, why do you need to shuffle your team when they have formed a good combination?”
He continued his criticism of the team's tactics despite coach Stephen Constantine insisting India never played for a draw. In fact, the coach had brought in attacking substitutions like Jeje Lalpekhlua and Anirudh Thapa.
“Why play for a point right from the beginning? There was no resistance in midfield because everyone was dropping down. Why did you allow so many balls to reach the box? The entire midfield was wide open. The two central midfielders were going so deep. We did not have a player who could hold the ball in midfield. Everyone cannot be a captain.
“Where they should have enjoyed the game they took unnecessary pressure. The mentality of playing for a draw will always put you under pressure."
Bhowmick also questioned coach Stephen Constantine’s decision of bringing in Rowllin Borges in place of Anirudh Thapa in such a crucial match. It must be noted that Thapa had picked up a knock in the match against UAE, something which he had admitted after the game.
He said, “I don't know why Stephen (Constantine) played Borges in midfield instead of Thapa. I really don't know. The boys should have talked to themselves before the match that we have done enough and let's enjoy the match. No one expects you to be the champion. Just play as you played the last two matches. Attack is the best defence. You just played a different brand of football not following your philosophy. My only disappointment is that they changed their attitude.
“So far Stephen did a good job and he has taken the responsibility on his own shoulders. Now the AIFF and technical committee have a job on their hands.”