Kolkata: Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen decided to step down from his role with the club after they suffered a shocking 2-1 loss at the hands of a 10-men Chennai City FC at the club ground on Tuesday.
French recruit Jean Michel-Joachim gave the visitors an early lead in the seventh minute much to the disappointment of the 10,000 fans at the Mohun Bagan ground and although Ansumana Kromah brought back the Mariners in the contest through a penalty in the 36th minute, Venjamin Shumeyko headed in the winner for Chennai to register the first upset of this season.
“It’s the end of the road for me. It is the right time to take responsibility on my shoulders and move way from the club,” said Sen at the post-match press conference.
Mohun Bagan is currently placed fifth in the I-League table with just two wins from seven matches. After they defeated Churchill Brothers by a 5-0 margin earlier in December, they have went on to draw their next three matches-against Shillong Lajong, Neroca FC and Indian Arrows.
Sen clarified that he had made up his mind to quit if his side failed to produce the desirable results against Chennai City.
“In three years, we have not lost home matches. I had already decided that I would quit after we failed to make a comeback even after drawing three matches. There are no ifs and buts and I think this is the right time to step down,” said the 55-year-old.
Sen was at the helm of affairs when the Green and Maroon brigade won their only I-League title in the 2014-2015 season but the experienced coach rather had an unceremonious exit and even confirmed the fact that the home fans spat on him after the match.
Even during the press-conference, the angry fans decided to vent off their frustration by flinging stones through the empty spaces in the gallery where Sen was seated.
“I do not know whether I deserve this public reaction or not, but it has been the case even with great coaches like Subrata Bhattacharya, Amal Dutta, Subhas Bhowmick and others. If you lose there is bound to be a negative reaction. Even Biswajit Bhattacharjee was also removed after he won the Calcutta Football League (CFL) as he was not successful in the I-League. Before I could have been sacked I think have taken a wise decision to step down,” he said.
He went on to cite examples from European football where Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho was handed the axe in the following season after Chelsea won the coveted English Premier League title.
“(Jose) Mourinho was sacked after he became champion with Chelsea and the same was done with (Carlo) Ancellotti. But nobody has sacked me. I should not continue with this club after these results. I do not care what tags are labelled on me. As I said it is my personal decision to resign after Mohun Bagan have lost a home match. I leave rest of the analysis to press. This is my final decision.”
“I don’t have the mentality to work at this club anymore,” he added.
While announcing his resignation, he thanked the club officials for their continued support.
“Thanks to Mohun Bagan officials for granting all my demands and being supportive throughout. I accept that I have failed to deliver the kind of success that was expected of me. Right now, I don’t have the mentality to work anymore in this club. I have announced my decision to the press and the press does not have the right to know to whom I have informed.”
However, despite being seven points behind table-toppers East Bengal having played a match less, Sen believed that the Mariners could still go on to win the title.
“I believe Mohun Bagan can still be champions,” he said.
Beating Mohun Bagan is like winning the World Cup
However, the story on the other side is pretty different as Chennai City head coach V Soundarajan was an elated man after his team defeated Mohun Bagan, despite being reduced to 10-men.
“This was the best match; beating Mohun Bagan feels like being a champion of a World Cup! It was pretty decent to beat them with ten members; it is a wonderful moment in my life,” said Soundarajan, at the post-match press conference.
He further stated that the Mariners were an organised side and he went into the match expecting just a point. The Chennai City gaffer also explained that his team won because the opposition gave away the ball too often.
“Mohun Bagan is a very organized side; in each and every department they are far better than us. I felt a 1-1 draw was coming but the team went forward and scored the goal. This is the greatest achievement for us because we are just two years old (in the I-League). It was a historic match and a historic result.”
“The only reason we won the match is because Mohun Bagan surrendered the ball,” he signed off saying.