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Anelka says he ‘won’t be back’ in India

MUMBAI: Much-travelled French striker Nicolas Anelka has admitted he is likely to be on the move once more after his Mumbai City team failed to qualify for the knock-out stages of the Indian Super League.

The former French international, who is a player-coach, accused his charges of a lack of fighting spirit after a 1-1 home draw against bottom-placed Kerala Blasters on Thursday night effectively ended their season.

“I don’t think I will come back. You have to speak to the team management,” a dejected Anelka was quoted as saying during a post-match press conference.

“The main reason behind the poor run of the team is lack of fighting spirit.

“The way we played, we don’t deserve to be in the semis. We can’t blame anybody. We lacked the desire to win,” he added.

Anelka, whose previous clubs include Real Madrid, Juventus and Arsenal, joined Mumbai City as a player in the inaugural edition of the ISL last year and was then appointed coach for the current season.

Since taking the helm, Anelka has reportedly had a number of bust-ups with players, including striker Sunil Chhetri, captain of India’s national side.

Although he appears to have lost his appetite for coaching, the 36-year-old held back from calling time on his playing career when asked about his future plans.

“I don’t know. I will have to rest and think what I need to do for the future,” he said.

Despite enjoying a trophy-laden career, Anelka has a long history of acrimonious exits from his clubs.

His last spell in European football ended when he was served with a five-match ban for an anti-semitic gesture known as a “quenelle” while playing for West Bromwich Albion in the English Premier League.

His international career came to a halt after he launched a foul-mouthed tirade against coach Raymond Domenech during a match at the 2010 World Cup.

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