The tactician also apologised on behalf of the players for the dismal performance.
It was another high-scoring ISL encounter between East Bengal and Odisha FC in which the Juggernauts emerged triumphant. While East Bengal went into half time with a healthy 2-0 lead, their second-half performance was shambolic. Odisha FC made an inspiring comeback by scoring four goals, downing East Bengal 4-2 in the process. What seemed to be a bright continuation of momentum for Stephen Constantine’s side turned out to be a heart-breaking encounter at the end. After the game, East Bengal head coach Stephen Constantine attended the post-match press conference to share his thoughts on the game.
Edited excerpts from the press conference are as follows.
On the team collapsing in the second half
Stephen Constantine expressed his views on the reasons that led to his team’s second-half debacle. he said, “At half time, we talked about the score. We had a very good performance in the first half. I told them to forget about the score. We knew they are going to come and attack us as they needed to get a goal quickly. But we switched off. We made schoolboy errors.
He continued, “We left players unmarked, we left players free. They had some quality players and we got punished. It was very poor from our side. You don’t make these mistakes even as a schoolboy. We have to hold our heads up. I apologize on behalf of the players. It’s not good enough for East Bengal.”
The tactician added, “You cannot play like this after playing such 90 minutes in Bengaluru – where we had a 90 minutes performance. That’s what I have been talking about for all the games. Our first 90 minutes performance was superb where we won 1-0. Then you have (good) 45 minutes against a very good side. You are 2-0 up and you concede two goals within the first three minutes of the second half. It’s unacceptable.”
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On whether the team was a bit complacent in the second half
East Bengal coach admitted that some of his players got a bit complacent. He said, “I think some players thought the game is over. Although I told them at half time, ‘We need to get another one (goal). They will come at us, so you need to be composed’. We did not have to make a substitution at half time, everything was fine. But as I said, we completely switched off and we paid heavily.”
At the press conference, Constantine provided an update on Charalambos Kyriakou, who left the field after a concussion. He informed that Kyriakou is at a hospital with stitches over his eyes. He will undergo an MRI soon.