Maccabi Tel Aviv were knocked out of the State Cup in the eighth round on Saturday by Second Division Umm El Fahm in what was a disappointing performance by the TASE Premier League leaders. Coach Vladimir Ivic gave his assessment of the 3-2 defeat.

“We began the second half with a big error and we allowed our opponents back into the game. They are into the next stage of the competition and they should be congratulated. We are all disappointed but if there is anybody who should take the blame it is me and not the players,” Ivic said. 

“I apologise to the fans, this is our worst performance since I have come to the club.”

Ivic introduced players who have not been in the starting lineup recently but said that this was not the reason for the defeat.

“We had experienced players in the lineup who have played many games in the past. Today was the day to bring in those who have not played much this season. I respect our opponents but we should have finished off this game in the first half and should have led 4-0. This is football and we need to look ahead now to the next game.

“This was the game to utilise players who have not played recently, I don’t think there is any problem with the rotation of the team, the problem was that we lost confidence after they equalised.

When asked about the inclusion of goalkeeper Andreas Gianniotis instead of Daniel Tenenbaum, Ivic said: “We hired Andreas to play, he knows about pressure and it’s not a problem for him but I will not blame any single player for this result. He has not played in a while and this was the time for him to play in order to see where he stands. I think that if we had put the clock back two hours I would still have done the same thing.”