Nicolas Anelka, marquee player-manager of Mumbai City FC, said yesterday that he was not good enough as the manager of his team after the Mumbai side were knocked out of the tournament at the hands of Chennaiyin FC at the Marina Arena on Tuesday.
“When you have a target and that is to finish in the top four, and you don't achieve it, then yes, it's a failure. As I said last week. when someone asked me if I was coming back (to the ISL), I said I am waiting for the results. Of course, I am the first one to admit I wasn't good enough,” Anelka said in the post-match press conference, quoted Goal.com.
Mumbai stumbled to a 0-3 defeat against Chennaiyin last night in a rain-washed match, and with it, their slim hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals were washed away as well.The loss saw Mumbai extend their win-less run to seven games.
To put it into context, Mumbai have conceded the most number of goals in the league (24), and scored the least (13).
Anelka also accepted that a lot of off-the-field incidents have derailed the team in the second half of the campaign. He said, “A lot of stuff happened during the ISL. If you look at the beginning of this season, it was exactly like last season. We started well and after that we couldn't manage to keep going in some way. This year it was the same. I don't know why it happened. The players tried their bit. I can't explain. A lot of stuff happened just before the second half of the ISL. That's why we're here today.”
It started with Andre Moritz, their star performer from last season, leaving the club after playing the opening match of the season. The former Bolton Wanderers player, reportedly, had an altercation with marquee player-manager Nicolas Anelka, and was 'relieved of his duties'.
In October, Mumbai's assistant manager Oscar Bruzon left the club due to 'differences in football philosophy' with Nicolas Anelka. By the end of his tenure, Anelka and Bruzon were reportedly not seeing eye-to-eye.
After the 0-7 hammering at the hands of FC Goa last month, Anelka blasted his team in the post-match press conference, insisting that the team lacks character and do not deserve to wear the Mumbai jersey. It is safe to say that all was not well in the Mumbai camp this season, and it reflected on their performances on the pitch.
The former Real Madrid player has also criticized Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri for his unwillingness to pass the ball in order to play in a central role. Anelka's subsequent decision to play their top scorer as a winger, in order to accommodate himself in the starting line-up has also been questioned, although the Frenchman believed that the club had better central strikers than the Indian international.
After Mumbai's defeat last night, Andre Moritz came out on Twitter and picked apart Anelka in a series of tweets.
Its so easy to pointing fingers to other ones... Blaming other people for your failure. Be a man and stop crying.— Andre Moritz (@andremoritz10) December 1, 2015
Lets see whos guilty today?— Andre Moritz (@andremoritz10) December 1, 2015
As for me? I'll do myself, like i always did... Keep my character and who i am. "Fighting other peoples wars"... Thats what i do!— Andre Moritz (@andremoritz10) December 2, 2015
Mumbai will next travel to Kolkata to face the defending champions on December 4, and considering the form of both the teams, the Blue Devils could very well end the league phase at the bottom of the table. In the light of the huge investment the management had made in the summer to rebuild the squad, things point to what would be an embarrassing end to Anelka's reign at the helm.