Ishfaq: Result would have been different had we taken our chances

Kerala Blasters FC were condemned to their fourth loss in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 after Chennaiyin FC beat them 3-1 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Friday. The Blasters fought back and equalised through their skipper Bartholomew Ogbeche but two more goals from Chennaiyin before halftime was enough for the two-time champions to get a win.

The Blasters’ assistant coach, Ishfaq Ahmed attended the post-match press conference for his team and rejected claims that his side struggled to create enough going forward. “We scored and we created as well but Messi Bouli missed a couple of chances. Against a good team, you get three chances or so. They got three chances and they scored. In these derby matches, you get half chances. Good players convert them and sometimes you don’t convert,” he said.

Ishfaq continued, “Had we converted our chances, maybe the result would have been different. So, I don’t think there’s any problem with our attacking. When you have the highest number of crosses, it means you are reaching the goal. Unfortunately, we didn’t take our chances, which we should have. But maybe next time we will.”

The former Kerala Blasters player then went on to elaborate on the overall development of his team. “There are two ways to look at the development of the team. One is from the fans’ point of view who want three points. If you see the stats, one of them reveal that Kerala cross the ball the most. We are, I think, second on the table for most touches. So, I think that shows that we’re playing a different brand of football. It’s not that we have top players and a good coach and hence, overnight we become winners. It takes time and if you see Kerala from the previous season, we’re playing a different type of football,” the 36-year-old opined.

When asked what areas they need to improve on, Ishfaq said, “If you look at some of the goals we conceded tonight, it happened after we gave away possession. They counter-attacked and scored. These are the mistakes that we have been making, which we have to avoid in the future.”

He also revealed that Ogbeche’s substitution at the start of the second half was merely precautionary. “His injury is an eye injury. Somebody’s put their finger deep in his eye. He’s physically and medically fit to play. We have given enough time to him for his recovery. He’s played a practice match as well and has been given his time to come back into the team from his previous injury. The injury he had earlier wasn’t why he was withdrawn tonight. He couldn’t see clearly and we also didn’t want to risk anything,” Ishfaq explained.

Read the match report here.

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