The southerners’ gaffer dismissed the possibility of a lack of quality in his team.

For a side that’s lost a game 0-6, it becomes really difficult for a coach to find answers in the press conference and Tuesday night was no different for David James. The man harped on practical outlooks in the pre-match sitting, but a thrashing by half a dozen had it coming for the home side.

The interaction got directly to the point, when James was asked, “Positives and negatives you’d take out of the game?” He started on a comfortable footing and said, “In these games, you look at a lot of things. I’m happy for the players. They gave everything from the first to the last minute, their best efforts. We made a lot of changes because irrespective of the score, it’s pre-season and you want to try different things with your squad.”

James continued in the same vein and knew that the journalists wanted more. “The youngsters had a really good go at it, while some experienced players didn’t start. My team is not very happy because of the score, but they gave it their all and I’m sure they’re a very good side.”

James sounded enthusiastic before the game against Melbourne

Asked about Slavisa Stojanovic and Matej Poplatnik’s performances, James replied, “These players are playing their first games in India and they had a little bit of heat, rain and cold. They’re not used to it.”

“We’ve had a short pre-season with good training. It makes a lot of difference when you’re playing quality opposition that does not allow you to do things you want. I think, eventually, these lads will do what we need out of them. I’m not happy about the defeat, but I’m happy about the quality of opposition we played.”

Khel Now asked the former Bournemouth goalkeeper about the positional changes that he made. Both Anas Edathodika and Sandesh Jhingan played at right-back but didn’t look willing to go forward. Cyril Kali, a centre-back, was employed at left-back, while Seiminlen Doungel was also played in the centre of the midfield. James looked a little disturbed at the question.

“You were probably watching a different game,” out came the reply from the Englishman. The reporter responded with Kizito Keziron being the only player who was playing the ball forward from midfield and James gave way. “I’d call it the pre-season then. The fitness is not up to the mark and we believe in the versatility of our players.”


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Khel Now also questioned James about the lack of midfield options for the second year in a row and we received a blatant reply. “I care about this side more than you and I think we’ve enough in our kitty, but that’s your opinion. We’re not happy with the score, but I’m happy with a lot of other things.”

James was asked to rate the performance of his captain, Jhingan. “I’ve still not said anything to my players in the dressing room yet and we’ve just gone through a game of football that we’re not very happy about. But, I’d not rate individual players,” James said on the same.

“Would these games against Girona and Melbourne help you gauge the performance and analyse your squad better?” another question was fired.

“Both Melbourne and Girona are at a higher technical ability and I’d imagine Girona to possibly be at a higher level than Melbourne, playing in La Liga. We getting to play these teams is a magnificent thing and it gives my players an opportunity to play against some very gifted footballers. Indian football needs to challenge the likes of Australia and Spain and it’ll help football in the country.”

James signed off with a Namaste, and, “I want to win these games, but we’ve got to take the positives. I don’t like losing games, but we’ve learnt things from the game. We look forward to the game against Girona.”