The defiant Mumbai boss questioned the upbringing of a section of the club’s fans as they continue to vocally call for his ouster…

The game dubbed as the Maha Derby between DSK Shivajians and Mumbai FC ended in a 5-0 rout of the away team. DSK never allowed their rivals any breathing space, comfortably registering their biggest ever win in the I-League. 

The managers of both sides met the press after the game, and while Dave Rogers was understandably delighted, his counterpart Santosh Kashyap remained defiant, despite seeing his side not win for a 12th game running. 

The Mumbai coach, speaking on his side’s dismal performance, said, “Fatigue is the word, I believe. Two days ago, on a heavy pitch, we played excellently. DSK are a very fit side and we couldn’t cope up. It was like an accident, the score. We travelled yesterday, had a day’s halt in Mumbai, then travelled again yesterday so it was tough.” 

The 50-year-old stood by his stance on fatigue, opining, “Mehraj was exhausted. Jalaluddin exhasuted, and so was Kima. Densil also couldn’t do it, this game. They tried their best but it couldn’t happen.”

Santosh Kashyap has been under great pressure recently, due to his side’s poor run. On the security of his job, he said, “No problem, I believe. I think the management know that. Till now, I have put in my best. The media is against me, the fans are against me but the management understand me. Players are joining but aren’t fully fit. Baljeet played two months of ISL, he was practicing but he was not ready. The strength will take time, that other teams already have.”

“You will see the difference after the next 20-25 days.”

The fans of Mumbai FC, a big number of whom travelled for the game in Pune have been very vocal of their need for change. They are unhappy with Kashyap as the man in charge and ‘Santosh Out’ banners have become a common sight in Mumbai FC games. The man himself commented on the situation, stating, “They started positively but ended with negativity. I know they are hurt but I expect better from them. Last minute of the Minerva match, they are abusing me. The players, management, my staff and the fans are equally responsible here so I don’t expect the way they are protesting. 

“They are all from educated families, so they disrespecting their parents, their upbringing was wrong, that’s why they are abusing me. They need to understand to respect everyone in this field; I too am trying my best,” Kashyap signed off. 

Dave Rogers greeted the press with a smile on his face, knowing that his team finally got the result they’ve deserved. The Englishman, though, ensured his side kept their feet firmly on the ground. “I’m not going to sit here and gloat since I have a lot of respect for our opposition. We have won a game of football, a derby game but the big thing for me, is the direction of our football club, believing and trusting in our young Indian players. And today was just a reward for their hard work.” 

He continued, “I asked the boys to win the game today, and the main thing I wanted was a clean sheet. I told them if we keep a clean sheet, we’ll win. The boys will have some rest time now after travelling around the country for four weeks. I’m proud of them and it’s another statement for Indian football.”

I watched the Mumbai game against Mohun Bagan, and for 25 minutes, they were outstanding. They showed me they were fighting for Santosh, for the club and the fans. But I’ve also got a bunch of players who wanted to give a statement that we’ve been unlucky many times this season but we can only change that by doing what we can on the field. 

“I take no satisfaction from the scoreline, its irrelevant to me but what’s imprortant to me is getting the three points and keeping the cleansheet was massive for us.”

DSK incredibly finished the game with 5 U-22 Indian players, something that has often been seen with their squad, and Rogers was quick to point that out. “It’s happened in every game; we’ve regularly had 9 young players in our squad. I’m not afraid to play them and for me, if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.” 

Lallianzuala Chhangte and Mawihmingthanga both got on the scoresheet today, and two of India’s best talents were separately praised by the English boss, stating, “I’m specially pleased for Jerry and Zola, because they’ve been with us for three years now. We got them when they were 16 and the progress they’ve made is incredible. I’m really proud for them too. Zola, too has missed a lot of chances in recent games. He came to me for advice and I said, Zola, you’ll get a goal because I’m gonna be patient with you. And the goal was an absolutely fantastic finish; the guy now has his first senior goal, and that’ll give him great confidence. And Jerry too. They’re a credit to their families back in Mizoram, a credit to DSK and a credit to Indian football.

“I love working with this team,” opined Rogers as he signed off. 

Both teams take a break for the international matches now. DSK play their next game at home to Minerva while Mumbai next host Churchill, all in April.