Kerala Blasters defended resolutely for 90 minutes before succumbing to two stoppage-time goals against Bengaluru FC in the southern derby of the Indian Super League (ISL).
Blasters’ coach David James summed up his thoughts on the encounter as he called football a cruel sport.
“For ninety minutes, that was I though a fantastic performance by us. Bengaluru deserve to be top of the league and they proved that today. The team is dejected in the changing room. Football is cruel. Credit to Bengaluru, they did very well to win the game,” he stated at the post-match press conference.
Chances came at a premium for both sides in the match as defences were on top and James alluded to the same when asked if his side had been wasteful in the final third.
“Bengaluru have got the best defence in the league. Most shots have come outside the box they are very well organized. In the Chennaiyin FC game, the goalie (Gupreet Singh Sandhu) was the man of the match,” he replied.
Having taken over the reins in the middle of the season after previous incumbent Rene Meulensteen and the club parted ways, James was left wondering what could have been after the side showed an upturn in their results ever since.
“As a head coach, you have to ask the question - what if... there was little bit more time,” the former England number one quipped.
The Kerala tactician hinted that Bengaluru could break the hoodoo of the league-stage winners not finishing as the champions in the editions of the ISL gone by.
“If you finish top you generally don't win. Bengaluru might prove to be the first team to do that,” James said.
On being asked if the former Manchester United pair of Dimitar Berbatov and Wes Brown will stay back in India for the Super Cup, James replied: “I will have to have a conversation with them first.”
"The information about the Super Cup came in late. I do hope so (that the pair will stay back)," he added.
The Englishman also took a cheeky dig at the Bengaluru support as he praised the travelling Kerala fans who were out in full force at the Sree Kanteerava stadium.
When asked to comment on the travelling support, James said: “You mean Bengaluru fans? Away fans? I thought it was our stadium. Their support throughout the season has been superb. I am already excited about the prospects of KBFC going forward and the fans are a massive part of that.”