East Bengal FC head coach Carles Cuadrat acknowledged that his team didn't perform at their best after they went down against FC Goa in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Wednesday. 

FC Goa emerged victorious at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa against East Bengal FC, thanks to a goal from Noah Sadaoui in the first half.

Despite FC Goa's efforts to create chances and maintain possession, they were unable to add to their score. This defeat marked their eighth loss of the season for East Bengal FC, with two of those defeats coming against FC Goa in the league stages. 

Cuadrat reflected on the game, conceding that FC Goa was the dominant team, and the physicality posed a significant challenge for his squad.

“A lot of things (went wrong). FC Goa has been superior. Also they deserved the three points. We have been trying to make a match plan before the match to try to catch them (in the table). It’s true that they have been winning the physical game and then it’s very difficult to be competitive if they are winning the duels, if they are anticipating (what we will do) with the ball, then it's very difficult,” he stated in the post-match press conference.  

“We had been trying to take advantage of more players in the centre of the pitch. We were playing a system of 4-3-3, against a system of 4-4-2, so it means that in the (middle) half of the pitch, we should have three players against two of them. But we were losing the ball too easily. In the first half, we didnt take advantage of that. They were putting us under pressure and finally, in a physical action, they scored (to make it) 1-0,” he added.

Since the ISL resumed after the international break in February, East Bengal FC has faced a packed fixture schedule. Over the last month, they have contested eight matches, a big jump when they played 10 games from September 2023 to December 2023. 

Cuadrat acknowledged the challenging nature of the tight schedule, emphasising the demands it placed on both his established players and the recent additions like Felicio Forbes, Victor Vazquez, and Aleksandar Pantic, who joined the team during the January transfer window. 

“I’m understanding the effort that the players are putting in all these weeks. It’s been eight games in just four weeks. So it means that a lot of them have been without a lot of games which they are not having during the season. Two games in October, two games in November and now suddenly eight games (since the last month),” he explained. 

“Unfortunately, we have some injuries like Saul (Crespo) or (Jose) Pardo that have made us change our plans in February. The players that were coming here just to help like Felicio (Forbes), Victor Vazquez or (Aleksandar) Pantic, they were trying to understand our tactics (before being eased into action). Trying to play maybe (for) 15, 20, 30 minutes and suddenly they are in the middle of action. Unfortunately, I'm demanding a lot of effort from them and they cannot deliver every time. It’s also things that happens in football, where sometimes you have a plan and suddenly everything changes because of injuries. We have to keep going,” he explained.