We have to hold our hands up: East Bengal FC head coach Stephen Constantine

East Bengal FC head coach Stephen Constantine was displeased with his team's performance as they suffered a heavy defeat to Odisha FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, in Kolkata, on Friday. Thongkhosiem Haokip and Naorem Singh gave East Bengal the lead going into half-time, but Odisha FC hit back after the break with a brace from Pedro Martin alongside goals from Jerry Mawihmingthanga and Nandhakumar Sekar. 

Constantine said East Bengal FC got punished for their lack of concentration as the Red & Golds suffered their fifth defeat of the season and the Englishman called for his side to hold their hands up. Constantine, however, revealed that he had warned his side at half-time to not lose their focus as he expected the opposition to come into the second half all guns blazing.  

Here are the excerpts from Constantine's post-match press conference:

In the first half, your side played tremendous football. What went wrong in the second half of the game?

At half-time, we spoke about the score, and I told the team to forget about the score. We knew Odisha FC were going to attack in the second half as they needed to get a goal quickly, but we switched off and made errors, leaving players unmarked and free.

Odisha FC have some quality players, and we got punished. It was extremely poor from our side, and you cannot afford to make such mistakes. We have to hold our hands up. I apologise for the second-half performance on behalf of the players, it is not good enough from East Bengal FC. It is unacceptable.

We cannot play the way we did tonight after the performance in Bengaluru FC last week, where we did well for 90 minutes.

Do you think the players got complacent?

I think some players thought the game was over, although I told them at half-time that we needed to get another goal or the opposition would come at us. They had to be composed, we did not have to make a substitution at halftime, and everything looked alright. We were completely switched off in the second half, and we paid for that heavily.

What is the condition of Charalampos Kyriakou?

He is in the hospital at the moment, has stitches on top of his eyebrow, and hopefully, he will be okay.

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