NorthEast United FC head coach Juan Pedro Benali expressed disappointment as his team suffered a 5-0 humiliation against East Bengal FC when the two sides met in matchweek 8 of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Monday.

Spanish midfielder Borja Herrera opened the scoring within 14 minutes from kick-off when he bagged his maiden goal for East Bengal FC through a powerful left-footed shot from outside the box. Captain Cleiton Silva and substitute Nandhakumar Sekar soon joined the list of scorers when they each bagged a brace, condemning the Highlanders to their fourth loss in ISL history with a five-goal margin. 

Highlighting the factors that led to such a bad result for the Highlanders, the Spanish tactician felt that it was a bad day for them where everything went wrong. “I think it was a bad day to be in Kolkata today for us. Everything went wrong. Defensively, in attack, everything else," Benali said in the post-match press conference.

"The marking was very bad, we didn't hold the ball efficiently, the passes were only backwards, not changing sides. Defensive, the crosses, (we) were not able to defend the process. We did a lot of mistakes. Even, we had the chance to go to one (goal) in the first half. It will give us more hope for life. (But) At the moment we're going to make changes,” stated Benali in the post-match press conference.

The 54-year-old missed the presence of Moroccan defender, Mohammed Ali Bemammer, but believes that was not the only reason for their defeat. Emphasizing how everything went wrong for the team, Benali said, “He (Bemammer) is a very important player for us. But it's not only the mistake of the midfield, I mean, it was a little bit of everything. Each one was out of his position, you know. We didn't perform as we should do. We were a little bit nervous. During the first half, we saw the two goals just leaving the players to receive alone, playing alone. We don't follow the one-twos. It's a lot of mistakes."