As Kerala Blasters head coach, Rene Meulensteen, who stepped down the other day, did not make any impact in the Indian Super League (ISL).
Expectations around the Dutchman, who has worked alongside the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, were high, but he did not seem to care much for a proper game plan.
Though Blasters got the chance to play too many home games in the first phase of the league, it was unfortunate that they failed to capitalize on that advantage.
They were incredibly lucky to salvage four draws and a register a single win in the seven matches played so far. Other than these results, Meulensteen miserably failed to make any noteworthy positive change during his stint at the helm.
Blasters have so far failed to play as a cohesive unit. The team lacked a shared vision and it reflected in their boring game. In every match, most of the players were seen running out of steam within 10 minutes into the second half.
If they do not possess the stamina to last 90 minutes despite all the pre-season preparations, the coach should take the blame for such a scenario. Star player Dimitar Berbatov was substituted early in the first half of the match against FC Goa after going down injured. The physical fitness levels of these players are disappointing.
To be frank, Meulensteen was a total failure in making the best use possible of the squad at his disposal. Using a proven player like Iain Hume as a substitute in the injury time is unjustifiable. Such acts would only help shatter the self-confidence of a player.
In the high-profile match against Bengaluru FC, the coach chose to rest a key player. If one of your main players is injured, the coach is supposed to announce it prior to the match. It is the precedent.
The coach declaring after the match that a player, who has been in great form, was omitted from the squad due to an injury is something hard to digest. Is it professionalism?
Failures are part and parcel of the game, but the ability to recover quickly from downfalls is a key attribute of a successful management.
We have reached only the halfway point of the ISL, and I believe Blasters have enough time to implement the right strategies and bounce back.
(The author is a former Indian footballer)