Trevor Morgan: The man responsible for hitching East Bengal's title dreams this season
Written by: Sourav Neogi
The Kolkata giants started slowly in this year’s I-League but caught up with the high wind which had taken them on the top of the table in no times. However, dramatic displays on the pitch have taken its toll on East Bengal’s title hopes lately as they are in the second place with 27 points, three points behind underdogs Aizawl FC as the league halted for the international break. Arch-rivals Mohun Bagan are also closely following the Red and Gold Brigade with 23 points, having played two fewer games which might demolish East Bengal’s maiden title hopes again.
The Kolkata-based club seemed adamant at the beginning of the season to fill in the fourth foreigner slot with a big name, which had seen them roping in Kyrgyzstan international Ildar Amirov. However, the Kyrgyzstan international was quickly offloaded after the prestigious Kolkata derby, allegedly because of head coach Trevor Morgan was unsatisfied with the player’s performance. East Bengal signed Australian footballer Chris Payne, replacing Amirov in the squad after some days.
On various occasions, East Bengal have lost their minds and thus, the plot on the pitch this season
Since the beginning of the season, East Bengal was subject to severe criticism for players’ management, playing style and even on the substitutions' made at critical times by head coach Trevor Morgan. However, these critics could not place a foothold as the England-born Australian coach took the team at the top of the table and looked invincible at that moment. However, Aizawl FC put an end to their purple patch this season and Trevor James Morgan was forced to come down on alluvial plains.
After the Aizawl defeat, Morgan was forced to change his usual tactics and approach towards the game in the next two games against defending champions Bengaluru FC and Shillong Lajong FC. However, his revamped plan was unsuccessful, to say the least in their last two games against Churchill Brothers and Chennai City FC as they were handed two successive defeats in their last two league games.
However, instead of an attempt to regain the top spot for his team, Morgan took an unexpected vacation and went back to Australia to visit his family. The East Bengal head coach left his team potentially underprepared, which saw them lose against league newcomers Chennai City FC in the last match, dropping points and wasting another opportunity to go on the top of the table once again. Sadly, something similar had happened in his last tenure in 2013. He had went on a trip and never returned after the break.
Former East Bengal coaches came out all guns blazing after the team was defeated for the third time this season and some of them even claimed that this is the most distort style of football East Bengal as ever played. Trevor Morgan was also made a scapegoat for not using the likes of Jackichand Singh, Romeo Fernandes and Robert Lalthlamuana, considering the fact these players were brought in for the coach’s preference.
Apart from the players’ management, Trevor Morgan has made some of the most horrendous substitutions this season which has cost East Bengal valuable points in the process. In the match against Churchill Brothers at home, Trevor Morgan chose to keep Arnab Mondal on the bench and opting to start Anwar Ali and Ivan Bukenya in the heart of the defence which conceded two goals before an hour ticked the clock. Being two goals down, Morgan sent in Arnab Mondal instead of an attacking player who later was injured and was forced to play the rest of the game wearing a bandage on his head, committing multiple errors in the field.
After the defeat against league minnows Chennai City on the last matchday, Morgan blamed the players’ physicality for the defeat against the Chennai side. However, surprisingly it was evidently more than enough against teams like Churchill Brothers, Bengaluru FC and Minerva Punjab FC where the opponent fans were furious on the Kolkata giants for a dirty display on the pitch.
Talismanic playmaker Wedson Anselme was forced to the left wing: A failed tactic
Morgan had previously cited that the reason for players such as Romeo Fernandes and Jackichand Singh not starting because his strategy does not include wing play yet Wedson was forced to the left side at the beginning of the season despite having traditional wingers at hand and the No. 10 being effective through the centre.
As the league comes close to the conclusion, East Bengal have once again gone down the drain in the title race, similar to what has been happening since the inception of the I-League in 2007. However, adding a much-needed flavour, the head coach, this time, is more to blame for the title setback than any other individual in the team, unlike the previous years.
Published: Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:41 AM IST