Marco Materazzi was unfazed by the Zidane masks that hung on the faces of (or was simply carried by) nearly half the crowd , but the defeat that Kerala Blasters handed his Chennaiyin side with a resurgent second half performance rendered him rather morose after the game – understandably so.
He had a point when he said that his side rued their missed chances, as they created a number of them on the counter -
“If we had scored the second goal, it would have been a different result to the game. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Even though we played better in the first half, it was not enough,”
As many coaches this season, he wasn't over-impressed by the refereeing;
“The first goal was actually a foul. The second goal was our mistake and by the time the third goal was scored, the game was already over.”
He was also philosophical when asked out about his side's position at the bottom of the table saying that it was just bad luck. “I would like to be at 20 points and not 10 points. It would be crazy if I was good with this position with 10 points,” he said.
He also made it clear that he didn't think Kerala's margin of victory reflected the actual goings-on on the field. He also had strong words of support for his players saying they still need to keep believing as they begin preparations to play fellow bottom-stragglers Pune City FC on November 15, in what is be a must-win encounter for both sides
“We are professionals, so we know what we have to do. I don’t think the goal difference in both the games actually reflects what really happened. We need to keep believing and pushing ourselves harder. If not, we all go home by the second or third of December.”
Steve Coppell – also understandably – had a lot more to say than his opposite number.
He sang praises of the two returning Bengaluru FC players. CK Vineeth has three goals in two games, and Rino Anto showed his undoubted class in his brief appearance against Chennaiyin.
“Having the two players join us from Bengaluru FC has made a huge difference. CK Vineeth just being there physically has been a big psychological boost. They are both very good players. It's something you can't do in the ISL, go into the transfer market and sign players. They give us the liberty, and supplement what we already have. We have got a hungry squad wanting to get better, which makes a big difference,”
He was also candid in his assessment of his side's performance; and was unstinted in sing hosannas of the massive crowd that turned out (as always) at Kaloor.
“I thought we were very poor in the first half…Early on, I think we were fortunate as we didn't play well, they had opportunities. To be honest, they were better than us. I was desperate for half time to come, so I could have a quick chat with the boys to sort things out. Thankfully, that came soon… We have to thank the crowd because they created the atmosphere that was fabulous and that does make the difference. Maybe, in the first couple of games it might have been pressure for the players. But now it is more like an occasion that everybody enjoys. The players are more relaxed now. The momentum we gained with the goals and the crowd in the second half makes up for a very special night.”
He also admitted that he was worried about Kervens Belfort's injury, but he was pleased with the way Antonio German stepped up to the plate.
“Looking bad [Belfort's injury], you can probably say that. He has been our most significant striker. He offers something which is very difficult to stop. When he went off, Antonio (played). He always wanted to play down the middle and tonight he had the opportunity. At this point, there is pressure to deliver. People are looking at him. We needed a focal point for our attack and he provided that. The first goal was massive for us…He created that goal because he was determined to set up Didier Boris Kadio. He can look back on his tonight's game and think it's a good job. He can say that he has been part of the team that has been successful. Belfort has a groin injury. He had a groin injury after the previous game and I think he has aggravated it a little. We have got about a week before we play again so I think he has an opportunity to rest and get some treatment to recover and make himself available for the next game,”
Kerala play their next game at the Mumbai Football Arena on November 19 – and they will have the tough task of keeping out the fearsome Mumbai strikeforce of Matias Defederico, Sonny Norde, Sunil Chettri and Diego Forlan.