The Men of Steel are currently placed 10th in the league table.

Jamshedpur FC head coach Aidy Boothroyd refrained from making excuses for their 1-0 loss against Kerala Blasters at home on Sunday. However, simultaneously, the tactician listed a host of reasons, concerning mainly around injury concerns and inefficiency in set-pieces, as the key reasons behind the team’s fifth consecutive defeat in ISL 2022-23.

Here are the excerpts from Boothroyd’s post-match press conference.

Assessment of the game

The head coach expressed disappointment on the manner in which Jamshedpur conceded the first goal. He also felt that the referee denied them a clear spot-kick opportunity.

“There were a lot of positives actually. What wasn’t positive was the goal we conceded. I am very disappointed, from a free-kick which we work on a regular basis. I felt we had a shout for a penalty. I thought it was a definite penalty which we didn’t get,” he said. “When things are going well for you, you get those little bounces at goal, those little breaks in play, at the moment it’s a tough one,” Boothroyd added.

However, he seemed optimistic about the imminent return of quite a few key players currently sidelined due to their respective injury concerns. “We have got Eli Sabia back for 90 minutes, which is a positive. We should have a couple of players back in the next 7-10 days hopefully. So, we will just keep going,” he quipped.

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On set-piece concerns

Jamshedpur FC conceded from a free-kick but failed to capitalise on the numerous set-piece goal-scoring opportunities that came their way. They couldn’t convert any of the four corners that they got. The team drew as many as 15 fouls during the match but were just unable to make anything constructive out of the dead ball.

In fact, Aidy Boothroyd explained that the side was quite prolific from set-pieces earlier on in the season. However, that efficiency has gradually dipped down as the campaign has progressed.

“I don’t think we are as good at them as we were really during a part of the season. We went to Mumbai and scored from a long-throw. When you are in a time like this, you need to work on everything. So we need to prioritize on what’s important. The priority is getting people fit and getting a system that suits everybody because at the minute, it’s round pegs in square holes at the moment. We haven’t got people who need to be, look at their team as a team of men. We are not quite there yet,” Boothroyd opened up on the issue.

He added, “It has worked in the past. But I think it’s a fair point. We were very organized in set-plays in the early parts of the season. We scored from set-plays. But it’s the final little bit. It’s putting the ball in the net so we get the ball to the place where we can score. At the moment, we are heading it straight to the goalkeeper or heading it over and we should take a little bit more care.”

The Englishman delved deeper into the psyche of the team, indicating that they are trying too hard to turn things around and that this approach is actually acting against them. “What I do think about this team is that they are almost trying too hard, trying so hard that it actually makes us not strong. But, I agree we should be comfortable in our set-pieces, like we were earlier in the season,” he revealed.

No time for excuses!

Aidy Boothroyd detailed about the players likely to return to the mix from their injury layoffs, particularly sounding optimistic about Brazilian midfielder Wellington Priori’s comeback. However, the former England U-21 manager asserted that the side cannot sulk on the back of these successive defeats and that they will eventually find a way out of this muddle.

“Eli is coming back, played tonight, and Wellington should be further on. Germanpreet (Singh), there’s my midfield. There’s my midfield but there’s also my set-piece taker in Wellington,” Boothroyd said.

“What I don’t want to do gents is come out here and make excuses, because I have never lost five games in a row. It’s tough, it’s really tough but the players are working hard. Yes, things aren’t dropping for us, but it will. Because, we got to be persistent, rebound and go again; not feel sorry for ourselves. Sorry, that’s a long answer,” he signed off.

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