The East Bengal tactician also claimed that his team is not a one-man army.
East Bengal’s inability to hold on to leads came back to haunt the side yet again as they lost another ISL 2022-23 fixture at home. This time they lost to Jamshedpur FC, giving the Men of Steel their first away win of the season. East Bengal took an early lead in the 12th minute via a strike from Cleiton Silva. However, the side conceded twice in the second half to allow Jamshedpur secure all three points.
After the game, East Bengal head coach Stephen Constantine addressed the post-match press conference. Edited excerpts from the conference are as follows.
On East Bengal’s chances of finishing in the top six after today’s defeat
Constantine expressed his thoughts about East Bengal finishing in the top six. He admitted that it is very difficult for his side to qualify for the playoffs after today’s defeat. He said, “It was always difficult for us to be among the top six. We had to win today and then beat Hyderabad next week. There are no easy games for us. We are not the team that we want to be at this moment in time. I know the fans are not happy and I apologise to the fans because they deserve better.
He continued, “We lost another game because of individual mistakes. We cannot say we did not create chances. But we did not make enough of the right decisions at the right time and we paid for that. It is thoroughly disappointing. But I had told before the season, this is how the season is going to be. We have won four games (till now), which is not good enough. But it is three more games than the number of games that we won last season.”
The head coach added, “We need to get some fresh players in. We need to rebuild this team. This is what we are trying to do despite starting very late. But, I am not going to make any excuses. I know the fans are not happy and I don’t blame them.”
On the team being overly dependent on Cleiton Silva for goals
Stephen Constantine admitted that his team is dependent on Cleiton for goals, but refuted any claim stating that East Bengal is a one-man army. He stated, “I don’t think my team is a one-man army. But we depend heavily on Cleiton for goals. Others have to pass him the ball for him to score. I had hoped to get a new signing in. Unfortunately, due to some administration stuff, we could not get the player right away. As I said, we are looking for other players. I did find quite a few players. But the question is getting them to come.”
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On bringing in new players to the squad
Constantine expressed his thoughts on the off-field trouble that has crippled East Bengal from bringing in new players. He said, “In order to try new players, you have to bring in new players. At the moment, that is a problem. It is the middle of January and we have not brought anybody in. Jamshedpur brought three players, I believe, in the window. But we did not bring anybody in. So, we need to be a little bit quicker in the market because we are losing opportunities.”
Coach’s approach toward going forward to the end of the season
Stephen Constantine informed what his and his team’s approach would be going towards the end of the league season. He said, “When I came here, I said that going into the top six, given all the issues that we have had, would be a miracle. We have won four games. I believe we can win three or four more. I believe we could have actually won today. Our target is to finish the season with as many positives as possible.
“You look at one positive from this season, it is Lalchungnunga. We got him on loan, he is a young player. This is a positive. Kyriakou played very well, he is a positive. Cleiton is the top scorer in ISL. I know this does not heal the pain of losing. That’s the stark reality of where we are right now. We need to get fresh players in. We have a couple of weeks left in this window and we are building for the next season.”