The Red & Gold Brigade suffered a 3-1 defeat in their first match of the season.
Kerala Blasters began the season right from where they had ended their last. It was an excellent outing for the team in front of a packed home stadium. The scenario was exactly the opposite for East Bengal. In an uncannily similar way, the team’s game resembled their performance of the past two seasons. It will be a cause of worry for the Red & Gold fans if the team does not change its course. After the defeat, East Bengal’s head coach Stephen Constantine answered questions from the media.
Here’s what the head coach said.
On the positive takeaways from the match
In reply to a question about the positives from the match, Stephen Constantine admitted that Kerala outplayed them mostly, but they were able to match KBFC in the first half. He said, “I don’t want to hear like making excuses… we are a young team, we have trained only for 6 weeks, but actually that is the case. I feel we did okay in the first half. In the first half, we had the first chance. In the second half, we lacked a bit of concentration at times. We have made mistakes and we did not help ourselves.
“But the positives of course. They (Kerala Blasters) finished fourth last year in the league. They have the same team and the same coach. I think for the first half we matched them. In the second half, we lost a bit of momentum of course conceding the second goal. The second goal was a killer. Then of course, there was a lapse of concentration. The third goal was again a mistake outside the box, which should not have happened,” added the tactician.
Also Read: Kerala Blasters vs East Bengal Match Report
On the physical condition of the team
When Constantine was questioned his opinion on the team’s fitness, the coach asserted that the team is fit. However, he admitted that they lack game time together. The 59-year-old opined, “Match practice! I think we are physically fit but we don’t have games under our belt. The first big test for our team was the game against Mumbai in Durand Cup. For us, that was a big test. We got back in the game by making positive substitutions. I think it is not nice to lose but we will learn from it. We have games coming up, so, we will go out to play again and work on our mistakes.”
Any particular change needed?
Constantine did not want to answer a question regarding the one thing which he would like to change about East Bengal. He quoted, “This is not about one thing. There are many things that we need to fix. I will keep it to myself and share it with the players.”
On the reception that he received from the audience
Stephen Constantine was overwhelmed by the reception he received from the Kerala Blasters’ home crowd. This was reflected in his words. He asserted, “It was a fantastic reception from the Kerala fans. I appreciate that. Of course, the first day back after two years of not having fans is massive. You could see the atmosphere. It was just unbelievable. Once we figure out how to get the best out of it (atmosphere), India’s qualifying for Asian Cup for two consecutive times might result in India playing the World Cup in the future.”