We need to build a balanced squad: East Bengal FC head coach Stephen Constantine
East Bengal FC head coach Stephen Constantine was critical about his side’s performance and highlighted the need of building a balanced squad after they were held to a 3-3 draw against NorthEast United FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium, in Kolkata, on Wednesday.
Cleiton Silva broke the deadlock for East Bengal, but NorthEast United FC hit back with quickfire goals from Parthib Gogoi and Jithis MS. However, Jake Jervis brought the home team back on level terms during added time of the first half with a spectacular bicycle kick as both teams headed into the break all square. Silva scored from the spot in the second half to help East Bengal FC reclaim the lead, but a late equaliser from substitute Imran Khan ensured that both teams shared the spoils.
#EBFCNEU was a 6️⃣-goal thriller with neither side able to score the decisive goal in #Kolkata! 👊😮#HeroISL #LetsFootball #EastBengalFC #NorthEastUnitedFC pic.twitter.com/XIegbEc3oO— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) February 8, 2023
This was the first draw of the season for the Red and Golds, who now have 16 points from 17 games and are placed eighth in the Hero ISL standings. Following this draw, EBFC has now dropped 11 points from winning positions this season. Constantine said that his team were at fault for all of the goals scored by the opposition and felt that his team got causal after scoring the opener.
“I think there are lapses in concentration, lack of quality and game awareness. We had a plan for the game and we scored first. We thought that we are a big team and we would roll over NorthEast United FC, but we became a little casual and complacent. All three of their goals were down to us. You can’t say those were fantastically worked goals. It was down to us not doing our job at the right time. This has been the story of our season from day one, but it is what it is. We have got three games left and we look forward to it,” Constantine said at the official post-match press conference.
Jervis, East Bengal FC’s newest singing, scored his first Hero ISL goal and did so in spectacular fashion. He has started East Bengal FC’s last two games and looks to have cemented a place in East Bengal FC’s starting eleven.
“That’s why we brought him,” Constantine said when asked about his goal.
“I thought he did okay. There are some things that we need to work on with him. He hasn’t played for three months so for him to finish 90 minutes today was a big plus for us. We have three games left and by the time we get to the end of the season, he will be match fit. But then we have 40 days where we need to wait for the next tournament (Hero Super Cup),” he added.
Constantine also admitted that his attack lacked strength on the right hand side in the absence of VP Suhair, who has been a regular feature in the playing eleven. The East Bengal FC head coach stressed on the importance of building a balanced squad with competition across positions.
“We’re lacking in a lot of departments, not just the right hand side (of attack). VP was missing, Mobashir (Rahman) was missing, and you could see how stretched we were. Even on the bench, we didn't have many options. We need to build a balanced squad, a competition in each position and we don't have that at the moment,” Constantine explained.