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ISL 2017/18: Jamshedpur FC coach Steve Coppell takes a dig at referee after loss to FC Goa

12 Jan 2018, 12:24 IST

Steve Coppell

On a night where one of the top attacking teams in the ISL took on one of the best defensive teams in the league, the match certainly proved to be an interesting one. FC Goa, in the end, managed to fight their way through and keep their composure to win the game and take the crucial three points that took them back into the top four at the halfway point of the season.

The match was closely contested for the first 40 minutes until a rather controversial decision by the referee resulted in a penalty for FC Goa, which was then followed by a long scuffle between the players and the referee but in the end, Manuel Lanzarote ended up putting the ball into the back of the net. Jamshedpur FC's Coach Coppell commented on the matter saying, ''I usually hate complaining about referees but when two sides are so closely matched like how they were in today’s game, you’d ideally want beautiful and individual football to be the difference, not a mistake or a poor referee decision.''

He continued to elaborate on the incident, ''I didn’t have a clear view of the penalty at the time but I got a chance to see the incident on the TV and it was clearly not a penalty. Andre Bikey got the ball first and it should have been a corner.''

Jamshedpur FC kept the pressure on the Guars all throughout the game and Coppell also felt that his team deserved at least a point on the night. He said, "We stopped them from doing what they usually do. We had a couple of chances that we should have taken advantage of. We got some exceptional individuals in this team, no doubt. If we continue to play with that desire and the will to win, we'll be alright.''

Coach Coppell continued to speak about how the refereeing and the players getting too involved in the decision making is triumphing over the spirit of football. He said, ''Players diving around, waving imaginary cards, it's not what football is about. It was a real pressure point moment when the penalty was given. I said at halftime concentrate on football, don’t get involved with anything or the referee and I'm glad to say my team responded and really concentrated on or at least tried on to win the match''

''I don't want it to be about referees deciding games, I'm sure the ISL doesn't want it to be like that either'' said Coppell. Jamshedpur FC have lost only three of their 9 games and yet have won only two, the rest being all draws. Some would say, Jamshedpur FC have been on the unlucky end as they have played relatively better than the current position that they are in (7th Place).

Coppell believes that the scheduling and the fixtures played a huge role in that, he said, ''Our last 5 games were against the top 5 teams and I said it last year, one of the most important things is scheduling. Where you play, who you play and ofcourse when you play and the timings. After tonight starts a period where we play 5 games in 3 weeks. It’s a challenge for us and we look forward to it, we have to improve and we have to get a greater return for the effort we are putting in.''

At the end despite all the controversy, Coppell was full of praise for FC Goa's attack that managed to score two goals in the game versus his team that has kept 5 clean sheets in the league so far. He said, '' The Second goal was a good piece of finishing. Lanzarote is a terrific player who scored a great goal. Jahouh, even though he shouldn't have been on the pitch, in the end, was great, number 23 (Edu Bedia) is a great player too and of course, Corominas is scoring goals for fun. That front triangle from the midfield to the forwards is the conundrum for the next nine games that the ISL teams are gonna try and keep quiet."

The coach despite having the best defensive unit in the ISL, is certainly not shying away from taking things in the attacking department a notch up. In the end, it is goals that win you games and Jamshedpur FC have scored only five goals since the league began. He explained, ''I don’t want to go on the back foot, I want to be offensive obviously and I know that being offensive would mean that we would be leaving spaces at the back, but I don't mind. We need to start scoring and winning.''

Regarding his position and the second half of the season, he ended with a positive note saying '' Well, no team has finished at the top and won it, so maybe, diplomatically it would be best to drop a few points and finish in the pack.''

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