News Live Scores
Indian Super League

Kerala Blasters' Ishfaq Ahmed - If you ask me, we have been brilliant

17:02 GMT 20/12/2019
Kerala Blasters Ishfaq Ahmed
The Kerala Blasters assistant coach admitted that his team played badly against Chennaiyin but feels they are doing a brilliant job this season...

Kerala Blasters suffered a 3-1 defeat to Chennaiyin FC to slip to ninth in the Indian Super League (ISL) table.

After the game, assistant coach Ishfaq Ahmed admitted that his team played poorly but maintained that they have been doing well despite injury issues and bad refereeing. In the first half against Chennaiyin, the referee Om Prakash Thakur wrongly awarded a free-kick to Chennaiyin from which they went on to score. After roughly five minutes of protests by the players and the coaching staff during which the referee consulted with his assistant, the decision was overturned and the goal was cancelled. 

"What happens usually is when you come back from a goal down. We had a routine set-piece that we executed well. After that the goal was given and then not given, it breaks your rhythm and concentration. I think that played a part. I have never seen such a thing. But we defended very poorly in the first half and that is why we lost," Ahmed said.

Eelco Schattorie had earlier said that he believes he is doing a good job at the club. When asked about this statement, Ishfaq clarified, "There are two ways to look at it. One is the fans' point of view. They want three points. Whether you play good football, it is a different matter. We have put in highest crosses in the ISL. We have more touches - second on the table. That shows a different brand of football. It takes time.

"We don’t become the best team suddenly overnight. We are changing our style. If you ask me, from a coaching point of view, we have done a brilliant job. It showed in the second half. We did miss some key players. We have been unlucky there. That is adding up to our problems."

Ahmed claimed that Kerala created many chances but could not make them count. He assured that his players will learn from their mistakes ahead of the games to come.

"I am not running away from the fact that we did poorly today. We need to work hard and we will learn from our mistakes. 

"We scored a goal. We created a lot of chances. You have to convert half-chances in tight games. We didn’t do that. So, I don’t think there is a problem with our attack. We have the highest number of crosses. It shows that we are reaching the final third," he explained. "We have pace on our wings as well. We know how to deal with their pace. The goals (conceded), it was positions lost by us. The last two goals were given by us. They were counter-attacks. I think those were our mistakes.

The assistant boss sympathised with the referees who have been receiving a lot of flak.

"It is unfortunate for the referees. They are human but in professional football, there are fewer chances for errors. I hope they improve and AIFF (All India Football Federation) come up with a plan for the referees. I hope there are plans to improve their standards. I think there should be some punishment system in place for referees who make errors," he opined.

The Blasters coach also clarified that Bartholomew Ogbeche was taken off after the first half as a precaution. "Ogbeche injury was when a hand poked him in the eye. He has been training well with the team so he was fully fit before this game. It was not a risk."