The NorthEast United head coach was dismissed in his team’s latest defeat to Kerala Blasters on Saturday.
Kerala Blasters kept their playoffs hopes alive as Wes Brown’s header was enough for the visitors to grind out a 0-1 win over NorthEast United. However, it was a sorry end to the Indian Super League season in Guwahati, as the match ended in a wrestling bout between players from both sides, which further engaged the referees in a duel with Avram Grant, the NEUFC head coach.
After being sent off from the pitch, the Highlanders boss made his feelings known in an unofficial post-match interview.
“First of all I would say, I am very proud of my boys. In a situation where we missed so many players, the young players gave their best on the pitch. Although we conceded from a set-piece”, the former Chelsea boss said.
The NEUFC tactician was apparently disappointed with the refereeing and didn’t hold back from expressing his views on the same.
“I dont want to speak about their decision-making. Three yellow cards for us and nothing for them. We could have earned a penalty as well.”
“With due respect to the referees, even today, I would say that they have made a lot of mistakes. When the players were engaged in a fight in injury-time, I went onto the pitch to stop them so that we can continue the game. But, the referee jumped on me like I was a criminal,” said the NEUFC boss.
Grant also said that the referees could not give him an immediate reason for his sending off. “When I asked why I was being sent off, the referees couldn’t give a reason initially. But, later they made up some reasons by consulting one another. I think they should show respect towards the coaches.”
The Israeli tactician also praised the young Indian lads in his squad. “I have been here for one and a half month now. The young Indian players have improved a lot during this period. They have given their all in every game. Yes, they have made mistakes, even best players sometime make mistakes, but that will help them to improve in the future.”
On being asked if the lack of experienced players held them back, Grant replied, “We fielded a comparatively inexperienced backline (due to injuries to the overseas centre-backs) and also a revamped forward line without Marcinho, who has been our best player this season, But we didn’t play bad with a similar system without those key players.”