East Bengal FC head coach Carles Cuadrat felt his side deserved more after they were held to a draw by Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Saturday.

East Bengal FC took the lead through an own goal from Ayush Adhikari in the first half and led for the majority of the game. However, Ninthoinganba Meetei emerged as a super sub, scoring a late equaliser in the 86th minute as Chennaiyin FC managed to earn a point at home. It was the third time this season that Cuadrat’s side dropped points after taking the initial lead."

Despite creating multiple opportunities, East Bengal FC managed only two shots on target against Chennaiyin FC. Cuadrat acknowledged the pressure applied by Chennaiyin FC in the second half, leading to a late goal. However, he maintained that his team was the better side.

“I don't think that Chennaiyin FC were the better side,” he said in the post-match press conference. 

“Football is a very complicated issue, and there are a lot of things that you prepare as a coach. And I think that the match plan was great for us because we got 0-1 in what we were working about to the space that we could punish the opponent. And we were very close to 0-2. When you make that gap 0-2, you kill the game.”

Chennaiyin FC dominated possession in the second half, launching relentless attacks. Despite conceding in the first half, they gradually gained momentum with substitutes like Meetei, Irfan Yadwad, and Jiteshwor Singh making a significant impact. Despite Chennaiyin FC's majority share of possession in the second half, Cuadrat felt his side remained in control.

“So, we have a lot of options with the space that it was only necessary (to make) a good last pass, but we didn't do it in the right way, so we missed some very promising goal attempts. And then it's normal to be controlling the result with five defenders. With the jobs of the two midfielders, it's normal. We were not suffering a lot; they (Chennaiyin FC) were in more possession, but we were controlling the actions, and the plan was to kill them,” he said.

Cuadrat acknowledged the team's overall performance but stressed the need to learn from these situations for future improvement. 

“The real truth is that we have five points after six games, and we really deserve more for the way we have been playing,” he revealed.

“So, this is the message that for us, every single point that we have been winning this season has been costing a lot of effort—a lot of talking, a lot of videos, a lot of working behind — but until now, it's happening like this.”

Cuadrat expressed satisfaction with the team's understanding of tactics but called for more clinical execution in both attack and defence.

“I'm happy with the team because they are understanding the tactics. It's only to be more clinical in the special moments of the game. Clinical in attack and clinical in defence,” the Spaniard expressed. 

He further addressed the need for foreign players to take leadership roles and emphasised the team's growth in the maturity of game management. 

“We know how it's football. I'm not criticising my foreigners. I'm saying that they have to show that they are leaders. And we, as a team, we have to grow up from that kind of situation,” he said.