ISL 2020-21: 'Some Indian players look like they haven't been coached before,' says East Bengal's Robbie Fowler

Robbie Fowler gesticulates during the match vs Mumbai City. Faheem Hussain / Sportzpics for ISL

SC East Bengal coach Robbie Fowler says he is "devastated" and hopes his players are "hurting more than I am" after his team lost 3-0 to Mumbai City FC in their second match of the Indian Super League (ISL) on Tuesday.

"I am devastated myself. I hope the players are hurting more than I am. We have to go again in 4-5 days. We are still coaching players; some Indian players look like they haven't been coached before. We are teaching intricate passing. We have to learn pretty quick. We have to be better," Fowler said.

When a presenter asked him if the team needed reinforcements on the wings, he said, "I would love to have them in all areas of the park, in all honesty. But I can't complain because we have what we have. Individual errors have cost us. The ball over the top in the first game [led to ATKMB's second goal] and same again today [Mumbai's opener]. When you make errors against a quality side, you get punished. Two of the goals we conceded today were our mistakes. We have to work and try to lift the players."

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Fowler went on to reiterate these points in the post-match press conference.

"We'll work on the training part, we'll coach the players, because in all fairness I think a few of them have probably never been coached before, and that's what we are doing," he said. "We are here to make our players better. We are here to make the Indian players better and that takes good coaching. I don't think they've had that in the years gone by"

Speaking about the match, he said, "The quality was at times okay, individual lapses at times cost us. We know as a team that we have to do better in terms of concentration. We try to drill that into the players all the time, and we need to learn that quickly. We'll go again, that's what we can do, but let's not forget the two games that we played were against two fantastic sides. I don't think we've been outclassed in any of them. Individual errors cost us at times."

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Asked if the lack of a foreign striker was hurting the team, Fowler said, "A lot has been made of foreign strikers, foreign players. Let's not forget we can only play five anyway. The type of football we play, we probably want a great striker who will score goals but we haven't got one. We play with what we've got. There's certainly no excuses. We are trying to score goals, we are trying to be the intricate team we know we can be."

For the Mumbai match, Fowler had made two changes to the XI that had started their first match, a 2-0 loss to ATK Mohun Bagan, Irshad and Wahengbam in place of Rana Gharami and Loken Meitei. He hinted that there would be more changes in personnel for their match against NorthEast United FC on Saturday, December 5.