Former Kaizer Chiefs manager Stuart Baxter suffered a disappointing defeat on his Indian Super League debut with Odisha FC on Monday.
In his first match since taking over as manager in June, Baxter watched on as Odisha succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to Hyderabad FC in their 2020/21 ISL opener, courtesy of a first-half penalty from Spanish forward Aridane.
Following the match, in which no fewer than five Odisha players found their name in the referees' book, the 67-year-old lamented the short pre-season and suggested a possible reason for his side's apparent ill-discipline.
"I don't think I'm different from any of the coaches, we would like more time with the players," Baxter said, per Goal.
"I think the fact that we were chasing the game once we gave away the penalty, the frustration that crept in that resulted in a few ill-timed challenges, that's probably the reason."
Scroll through the gallery to see some of Baxter's high-profile predecessors at Odisha FC
Baxter was also without the services of former Bidvest Wits midfielder Cole Alexander, who joined the club last month, and a host of other key players, but he refused to use their absence as an excuse for his side's defeat.
"We expect a couple of them back and a couple will be touch and go," he added, as reported by Indian publication Khel Now.
"Yes, we missed them. Jerry [Mawihmingthanga] gives us penetration, Vinit [Rai] gives us a bit more control in midfield, Cole with his energy and Jacob [Tratt] with his presence.
"So yes, we missed them obviously, but that’s not an excuse. We thought that players on the field could do a better performance than that."