Bengaluru FC head coach Gerard Zaragoza was displeased with the performance of his players as they went down to East Bengal FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Sunday.

The Blues were trailing in the game after Saul Crespo had converted a penalty and put East Bengal FC ahead in the game during the first-half. However, Bengaluru FC restored parity through Sunil Chhetri in the second half, who also scored a penalty. However, former player Cleiton Silva would come back to haunt them as he netted the winner for the hosts. The defeat meant that Bengaluru FC crashed out of the playoff race while East Bengal FC moved up to sixth spot in the standings, continuing their push for the final playoff spot. 

Zaragoza lamented his side's ability to not win duels in the game and was also unhappy with the way they played in the first half, where they were completely outplayed by East Bengal FC. 

"We were not in the match during the (first) 45 minutes. The first half was maybe the worst from when I have been BFC coach. We were not there. We could not win duels, and finally, football is about being able to win duels. And we lost 45 minutes. We could not enter the game. And we put them in the game, and then it came to the (1-0) and (we can discuss) many, many (other) things that it's better to keep with me," he said during the post-match press conference.

Zaragoza was also asked to share his opinion on whether goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu could have done better in collecting the cross from Nishu Kumar that eventually led to Silva's goal.

"The reality is that I did not see it on TV and I don't know, I need to analyze it. The reality is that we have a big man on the wall and we have three centre-backs at that moment. The only man who can score a goal for East Bengal FC (Silva) was scoring," the Spaniard responded.  

"If we want really to be in the playoffs, we need to compete and we need to fight and we need to win duels. Without this, it's normal that we are out. It's completely normal. But what I can say is, believe me, next season we will return and Bengaluru FC will be inside the top three minimum," he stated

This was the ninth defeat of the season for Bengaluru FC. While they have performed well at home this season, winning five of their 11 games on their home turf, they have been winless away from home. Zaragoza acknowledged that his team haven't been able to pick up results away from home and spoke about replicating their home form in away games.  

"We need leaders inside the pitch, it's something we will arrange. What is true is that we can be happy with what we did at home, four clean sheets from six games. The mentality of the team is amazing. But it's clear that what we away from home, there is not a lot there to be in the top six. It's something we need to work on," he said as the press conference concluded.