ISL 2017: NorthEast coach Joao de Deus apologised to referee after Chennaiyin game
NorthEast United's quest for a win remained unfulfilled on Thursday night as their trip to Chennai ended in a 0-3 defeat at the hands of 2016 ISL champions Chennaiyin FC. The result marked the first time that NorthEast had suffered defeat in this particular fixture.
“It started with a lack of concentration,” said a disappointed NorthEast coach João de Deus. “The first goal, I don't think I need to speak about it. The third, we should have really helped the keeper in that one.”
For a second successive game, NorthEast fired blanks as they failed to find the back of the net. De Deus had claimed before the match that he believed his side would have the top scorer in the league by the end of the season. Despite not having score goals yet again, de Deus steadfastly stuck to his guns.
“I'm not going to change my opinion because of one match or one result,” said the Portuguese. “We created 6-7 chances today. The problem is when we don't create opportunities. If you tell me that no opportunities for scoring were created, yes it is a problem, but right now no problem.”
The game was quite physical with plenty of hard tackles from both sides. It seemed to have riled de Deus and his players a bit, but the NorthEast coach played it down saying that it was a part of football.
“This game is not for kids, it's for men. That's football, it is a hard game,” was his response.
Rowllin Borges did not feature for NorthEast despite de Deus saying before the match that he was fit. He wasn't even among the substitutes. De Deus then revealed that the midfielder was “not 100% until now”, but is almost certain to start the next game. He also revealed that Adilson had had fever for four days and still took to the field, but was clear in saying that wasn't “an excuse” for the result.
With the first half yet to be completed, de Deus decided to take off Seiminlen Doungel on the left flank and replace him with Holicharan Narzary.
When asked for the reasoning behind the move, de Deus said, “I thought Holi (Narzary) can give me something different which Doungel could not. He (Doungel) needs space to run and play well, and he was not able to get much. He wasn't giving us what we wanted, so I made the change.”
After the match, de Deus could be seen having a long chat with the referee. But contrary to what many assumed, he said he wasn't complaining, but merely apologising.
“I went to apologise for kicking a bottle during the game. The referee thought that I did it because I was not happy with his decisions, but actually, that was not the reason. I did it when I saw two of my players hit each other while going for the ball. So I just went to say sorry for that,” de Deus explained.