Calcutta: East Bengal coach Subhas Bhowmick put up a brave front even after some of his moves backfired in his team’s loss to Mahindra United in the Super Cup on Wednesday.
“It’s sad that we failed to win the trophy, but we maintained the upper hand throughout,” he said after the match. “There’s no need to panic. The team is playing to a plan and our show in the National League will be a much improved one.”
Bhowmick also defended replacing experienced goalkeeper Sandip Nandy with rookie Jitu Chhetri. “Jitu responded well to shots from the spot during practice. I thought he would do the same here too,” the coach said.
Jitu, however, failed to transform his coach’s belief into reality as he was virtually clueless and immobile on his line during the shootout. He even almost conceded a goal within regulation time.
Sujoy Dutta, who came in as Dipankar Roy’s replacement in the 89th minute as a shootout specialist, turned out to be another flop. Mahindra goalkeeper Kalyan Chowbey anticipated his shot well to hand his team the fourth trophy of the season.
Bhowmick, however, refused to reflect too much on the growing tendency of his team failing to finish off a match within regulation time and losing it subsequently via penalty kicks, and only said it was an area “which needs to be looked into”. He, though, defended his forwards and said he hadn’t had the rub of the green on most occasions.
The East Bengal coach was also reluctant to answer queries about Bhaichung Bhutia’s non-availability in the match. Bhaichung returned to the city from Sikkim from a vacation last night but didn’t figure in the 18-member squad.
Mahindra’s British coach David Booth, on the other hand, believed his experimentation with the team was on the right track. “I still need to work on a few deficiencies in the middle third and my backline also needs to show more composure. But overall, I’m satisfied with my team,” he said.