The East Bengal boss said that the transfer ban has made things tough for the team.

East Bengal lost their ISL 2022-23 home fixture to Hyderabad FC by a scoreline of 2-0. Stephen Constantine’s army weren’t up to the mark in the first half. But they gave their best in the second and yet failed to utilize the opportunities that came their way.

On the game

The tactician gave his account of the game. He started, “There was a mistake for the first goal. We hit the crossbar in the first half. We had one or two chances. But in the second half we had three chances which we should have scored. On another day, we could have won the game. We didn’t take the opportunities. When we don’t do that, you get punished.”

The 61-year-old went on to applaud the team for their hard work. He said, “I think this was a much better performance than the last two or three games we have played. You can see the spirit of the players, the fight and the effort they gave. But it wasn’t enough. We made too many mistakes, not only in defence but also while attacking. If we had been a little bit more smarter and careful with the ball… We created more chances. The boys worked very hard.”

On new player deal

Due to the transfer ban, East Bengal are unable to register their new foreign striker. Stephen Constantine commented on the issue, “We cannot do anything until the ban is lifted. We have one or two players that we were looking to bring in. While the ban is in place, my hands are tied. It’s unfortunately not an area where I can comment so much since I don’t know the exact details.”

The problem at East Bengal

When asked about the problem which is going on at the club, Stephen Constantine gave his feedback on the same.

He started, “Everybody in West Bengal knows the problem. When I say what the problem is, people accuse me of making excuses. We started training on 4th August, at least a month behind all the other teams. We had exactly 12 players in the Maidan. We know the issues with the club and the investors, to get the signing done. This took some time, it’s not their fault. But we are paying for those mistakes now.”

“For anybody to think we can be a top-six team, from the position that we started the season, it’s very difficult. I’m not saying it’s impossible. But it’s very difficult to try and get the right players in the right positions,” he added.

He continued, “You look at our bench. What are the options that we have? I don’t have a striker to bring on. I am not a guy who makes excuses. If you know my history and about my life, I have been fighting since I was born.”

(The coach explains how much he wants to win)

The mentor sheds light on the reality, “We need time. I did not expect us to be a top-six team this season. I hoped. But it’s obvious we’re not going to be there. But for me, the plan is to rebuild this team. Not from scratch. We have some players who I think will help us going forward. But this is the reality. I want to win more than anybody else in West Bengal. Trust me.”

“I came here and put my reputation and career at risk for East Bengal. No problem. I’ll fight, but I can’t do that by myself. I can’t go into the pitch and score goals. What I can do is coach the boys. They worked very hard today and deserved a point from this game. They didn’t. It’s finished. Next game. We have six more to go. About next season, you will see.”

Bad situation to handle?

The team is going through a poor run. A transfer ban has been imposed over the club, hence they can’t sign new player to revamp the squad. What can be a worse scenario than this for East Bengal?

Stephen Constantine spoke about the situation, “Somebody told me long time ago – control what you can control. I cannot control that (the ban). I can control what I do with the players, how we work, the atmosphere. I will take all the responsibility and the blame. We’re talking about East Bengal Club. It’s a club with massive history. I know the fans want to win. But we got to prepare. When you don’t do that, you fail. We did not prepare the way other teams did and still won four games, and have the joint top-scorer, and have developed one or two players. Imagine if we were ready from the beginning. It (the scenario) will be very different next year.”

Worst phase of his career?

When asked if his tenure at East Bengal is the worst phase of his career, the mentor claimed, “In terms of defeat? Yes. I knew about the situation when I came. I still believe in the club and that we can get things right. I can fix this but I need time and the opportunity to bring some new players. Hopefully, this ban gets lifted soon. When the ban gets lifted, we’ll get some players in.”

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