NorthEast United FC head coach Marco Balbul was left frustrated with his side’s missed chances as they went down 1-3 to East Bengal FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, in Guwahati, on Thursday.

Cleiton Silva, Charis Kyriakou, Jordan O’Doherty were on target for the visitors. From the hosts, Matt Derbyshire found the net in injury time but it was too little too late for NEUFC. This result marks the Highlanders' third defeat of the 2022-23 season.

Balbul was delighted with the effort put in by his players and the chances created by the hosts, but felt the missed opportunities cost them dear.

Here are the excerpts from Balbul’s press conference:

A disappointing defeat for your side. What are your thoughts?

I’m really frustrated to lose this game at home. We started very well in the first half and we were the better team on the pitch. We gave them a present with the first goal. They didn’t create any big chances until the first goal. It was our mistake and a big mistake. And then we controlled the game, we created some big chances and good chances. One with Matt Derbyshire during the last moment of half time, it was an unbelievable chance that he missed.

In the second half, we started to chase them and they punished us with a good counter attack. And also after that, we created some good chances when Sylvester Igboun came on and the score was 2-0. But unfortunately, we lost 1-3, so it means nothing good for us.

What do you think went wrong for your side?

We made a huge mistake in the first half from which they got 1-0, otherwise they didn’t create anything. And of course, the last decision with the pass was bad. We created a lot of good chances to score but we didn’t take them. I’m really disappointed.

I think the players give everything and they put in a lot of effort to produce a good result. But unfortunately, we lost. We're looking forward to the next game. This is football. We should work hard, and be consistent because we saw some good things. We need to give the players a lift ahead of the next game.

Do you think Romain Philippoteaux's injury was a main turning point in the game?

Even after Romain went off, we controlled the game. They just made counter-attacks, nothing more. We created chances and controlled the game even when Romain went out, but you need to score goals when you create chances. When you play good football, you need to score. You cannot win games without scoring goals. So these are the main points for this defeat.

How serious is Romain’s injury?

For now it is difficult to know. Tomorrow we will know much better.