Calcutta: Since his arrival at East Bengal, coach Marcos Falopa’s biggest challenge was to fill in the boots of his predecessor Trevor James Morgan.
Morgan not only won several trophies, but was also very popular with the players. With the players gelling well with Morgan, success wasn’t hard to come by for East Bengal.
It has only been a little over two months that Falopa has arrived, but he already seems to have a major task at hand.
According to sources, East Bengal players, particularly foreigners, are finding it difficult to adjust to his training methods.
Such has been the differences, that the players also had an impromptu meeting soon after the coach left the training session on Wednesday.
The players feel they need to improve on their ball possession while the coach emphasises more on physical training and experimenting with new training methods.
Alvito, who is also the assistant coach, didn’t mince words.
“See, I cannot deny that the players are not happy with the coach’s methods and techniques. The players were terribly unhappy after today’s training. But things haven’t gone out of control. You need to give the coach some time to settle down. The players also need more time to adjust to his ways,” Alvito told The Telegraph.
“The seniors are playing an active role in trying to sort out the issues between the coach and the others. I am grateful to Uga (Okpara) and (Edeh) Chidi… They have come forward and offered a helping hand… Actually, that is the need of the hour. We need to help each other out… Hopefully, things will take a turn for the better.”
It was also learnt that the burden of expectations was also weighing heavy on the players. East Bengal have performed consistently during Morgan’s tenure. Some of them feel that if they fail to deliver this season, the fans will blame them.
Therefore, they aren’t keen to experiment and want to keep things simple.
That the coach is making some of the players play in positions that are unfamiliar to them has also made them unhappy.
The four foreign players, including new recruits Ryuji Sueoka and James Moga, have failed to adapt to the coach’s style and that has also been a concern.
“Yes… There are a few issues between the coach and the players. We are failing to adapt to his methods. We had a meeting today… We will now discuss the issue with the officials… Hopefully, everything will be sorted out soon…” said a foreign player, on condition of anonymity.
Falopa, on the other hand, is in the dark about the players’ feelings. “I don’t know whether the players in the squad are terribly upset with my training methods. I am not aware of any such happenings,” the coach said.
Under the circumstances, the seniors — like Chidi, Okpara and Alvito among others — are playing a major role to bridge the gap between the coach and the players.
The club officials said they will take stock of the situation soon. “We have heard about the problems… But we haven’t been able to speak to the players or the coach. We want to speak to them as soon as possible… Then we will plan our course of action,” football secretary Santosh Bhattacharya said.