KERALA BLASTERS succumbed to a 5-2 defeat against FC Goa on Saturday. The visitors lost the services of Berbatov early on in the game due to injury.
That hurt them the most, said coach Rene Meulesteen at the post match press conference.
"Obviously, the fact that Berbatov had to come off was a big problem, but we did not handle this well. If you see that another team is pressing high and aggressively, then the main thing to do is think of what we can do to get the ball in the opposition half and press from there. Obviously, we tried. It was a bit of a frantic start, and we never really got back into the game after 2-2 at half-time. It was a really strange game in the first half, and I don’t think it was great for either end. And then there were seven minutes of total torture – conceding three goals in seven minutes, after which there really was no way back. Great viewing for the Goa and neutral supporters, but we have to go back and really drink this poisonous result very quickly and move on."
Speaking further on his injury, he said,
"It was definitely a big setback because he has sort of been the catalyst to keep the composure and quality in the team. We are not entirely sure about the extent of the injury, but I know Berbatov really well, and he is not a soft player so to speak. So, I know there is definitely something wrong. The extent, we have to find out, but he would not come off if it weren’t serious. His role was slightly different from what you are used to seeing, and he was comfortable with it. He gives that composure when you are playing out from the back and to put the balls at the right angles. So, we have to see how we are going to cope with this for the next few games because if he is out, it is a big loss for sure."
He also had words of appreciation for the opponents' attack,
"I have to say they have some really good footballers in the middle of the park – that is basically where the team operates from. They have a good understanding and know what the coach wants, but also there is a risk involved with them, and we capitalised on that in the first half. After the three goals in the seven minutes, it becomes easier, and it gave them a lot of confidence, and for us, it was very difficult to come back in."
Talking about what went wrong in KBFC's defence he said,
"You always have to look over a longer period, and if it becomes a trend, then you have a problem. I thought they utilised that well, and we know how good the link is between Lanzarote and Coro, and he made great runs in behind. We have seen that in previous games."
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