Kolkata: Luis Garcia might not have scored a goal in their 3-0 rout of Mumbai City FC but that he was at the centre of Atletico de Kolkata's attack was acknowledged by none other than their opponents' manager Peter Reid.
"I think Garcia played beautifully and we were unable to contend him," the English pundit said of the former Liverpool star who was part of their 2005 UEFA Champions League winning (RPT winning) team.
Without taking anything away from Atletico de Kolkata, he said: "I think it's fair to say the better team won on the day. They passed better than us."
The Mumbai attack lacked sting without Nicolas Anelka (suspension) and Freddie Ljungberg (calf muscle injury) but Reid insisted to focus on the ground realities that they did not pass well.
"I don't want to make any excuse. We did not pass the ball well. It's not a pleasant thing, we can only get better. You cannot win football matches if you give the ball away.
"I made a couple of changes, I thought we started the second half better. But the second goal changed the complexion of the game," Reid told reporters after their loss at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan in the ISL opener.
On confusion about the availability of the mercurial Frenchman Anelka, Reid said they did not want to risk going against the FIFA ban despite a green signal from the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
"It's a FIFA ban. If you have not got permission from FIFA, it's difficult for Anelka to play a competitive match. We did not have confirmation from FIFA about his availability.
"It was a three-match ban. Then a letter from the Indian federation saying that he can possibly play came in. But because we did not get FIFA's permission we decided him not to play. I don't want a fallout with FIFA. So that was the best way," the former Man City and Sunderland manager said.
MCFC next play at home taking on state rivals FC Pune City at the DY Patil Stadium on October 18.