It is both fair and harsh to say that East Bengal have not had the best of the starts to their newest campaign, i.e. the Indian Super League (ISL), as the debutants have succumbed to four loses in the opening five games of the season. Furthermore, their latest 2-3 loss to Hyderabad FC on Tuesday has extended their unwanted winless run, which is indeed a matter of concern for the fans.

However, more than the fans, it is their head coach, Robbie Fowler, who has a serious task at hand to turn around the fortunes of the club. Meanwhile, he continues to rue the lack of concentration from his side, that supposedly led to their demise against Hyderabad.

“I don’t know actually know where to start. We come on here and say the same things over and over again. I think our players need to concentrate a little bit more and concentrate for the full 90 minutes. The players are not letting me down, they are letting themselves down and the fantastic fans of this club down. The performance of some players is not good enough, it’s not ISL standard,” said Fowler after the loss.

“We’re trying hard, but we were just not good enough, it’s as simple as that. We can make excuses, yes, of course, but there are reasons. We had two and a half weeks with a team that was gauged for the I-League. A lot of our players are struggling now in the ISL. That’s what we are all seeing. We train well, but some players don’t do as well when we play the matches. I don’t really know what else to do. We give them everything and we are here for them, but performance-wise in games, it hasn’t been good enough. Ultimately the recruitment has not been kind to us,” Fowler reckoned.

“It is what it is, this is the squad we have. Every game we play we mix and match and try to give everyone a chance and a start. People can throw whatever they want at me, but I pick a team based on what I see in training,” continued Fowler.

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“It is what it is, we’ve got the squad. Every game we play we mix and match and are trying to give everyone a chance and a start. It’s up to the players to try and initiate. And look, people can throw everything at me, but I am picking the team from what I see in the training. But, the lads have to earn the shirt on a matchday,” Fowler concluded.

Meanwhile, Hyderabad coach Manolo Marquez feels although they were victorious, their struggle in the closing minutes was worrisome. “I think we suffered too much in the last minutes. We needed to control the game better after we took a 3-1 lead. When Aaron [Holloway] came on, we had a lot of problems. We put some young players in for the last few minutes and had a lot of nervous moments,” he said.

“I know that he is a very important player for us. But, you know how injuries are. We have to be careful with the injuries because we have only three foreigners. Liston is very important, but maybe, he is at his best when the other team is tired. I think he is very powerful. If you remember, in our first game against Odisha FC, he entered in the 60th minute and was very important for the win,” told Marquez on Liston Colaco.

“I think we need to arrive with more players into the box. If I have any criticism for my side, it has to be this. We keep the ball well and the defenders are organised, but we arrive with more players in the box. Sometimes only Aridane [Santana] is in the box. We improved when Liston came on. We have young players and it is not easy,” Marquez concluded.