Brown: We showed Bengaluru too much respect in the first-half

A dramatic finish at the G.M.C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium saw 10-man Hyderabad FC come from behind to salvage a 1-1 draw against Bengaluru FC. The visitors took the lead through Sunil Chhetri early and dominated most of the game. Sahil Panwar was sent off in the second-half reducing Hyderabad to 10 men, but substitute Robin Singh struck in added time to secure a draw for Hyderabad.

Despite the draw, Hyderabad stay rooted to the bottom of the table with just four points from six matches. “The table doesn’t lie. We don’t deserve to be anywhere else than where we are now, unless we win. Tonight, the circumstances dealt their hands,” Hyderabad head coach Phil Brown opined at the post-match press conference.

Addressing the game, Brown stated, “Our gameplan against Bengaluru was to frustrate them and let them have the ball only in their own half. But when you make a mistake in the first two minutes and concede a goal, the plan goes out the window.  We couldn’t change things because of the personnel. At half-time, I pointed fingers at a lot of people. To address the situation, they have to understand we are at the bottom of the table.”

“At the same time, we have to draw the positives from today’s game. The most important thing was the character that we showed. Even after going down to 10 men, playing against a very good team, we came back,” he then added underlining the positive takeaways from the tie.

The Englishman continued his analysis and admitted that his team might have been guilty of showing too much respect to their illustrious opponents in the first-half. “I have to take my hat off to Bengaluru. They have consistency, continuity in team selection, they have a gameplan. They won the league last season and are undefeated this season – you have to admire that. There are certain things about them you have to admire but you can respect it to a certain point, not all the way. I thought everybody today showed Bengaluru too much respect in the first-half.”

“Respect comes from a handshake, looking the opposition in the eye and telling them ‘I will give you a hard game today’ and that’s what I asked from my young Indian players. I was asking them to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Udanta Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan, Harmanjot Khabra. I don’t think we won that in the first-half, but in the second-half, you have to say, we won that. There’s a negative feeling with respect to where we are in the league table but there’s also a massive positive in taking a well-deserved point with the character we showed today,” he explained.

Pressed for his take on what’s ailing Hyderabad, Brown said, “Overall I am not here to make excuses, because that’s not the type of head coach I am. In England, we say winners find reasons and losers find excuses. There are a lot of reasons behind the situation we are in and not all of it has to do with football. We crave the consistency Bengaluru has but that will need time. However, I am here not asking for time but demanding of my players that they express themselves better than they did the first-half tonight.”

Brown then went on to praise his three second-half substitutes. “I think all the three substitutes – Asish Rai, Giles Barnes and Robin impacted the game in their own way. That’s what substitutes do. There were one or two tired bodies in the Bengaluru backline at the end of the game and that’s playing with 11 vs 10. I have to take a step back from the result and look at the positives.”

Read the Match Report here.

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