The first Kolkata derby of the season is at hand with East Bengal facing off against Mohun Bagan Super Giant in their 2nd Group A fixture of the Durand Cup. East Bengal’s coach Carles Cuadrat along with new signing Mandar Rao Dessai addressed the media ahead of this fixture.
It has been more than 4 years and 6 months since the Red and Gold Brigade last won against their fiercest rivals. It has been a bleak couple of seasons for East Bengal with the team finishing 9th last season but they look to turn over a new leaf with the rays of hope in the form of their new coach Cuadrat and exciting acquisitions like Cleiton Silva and Javier Siverio. East Bengal conceded two late goals against the Bangladesh Army FT in their first match of the Durand Cup, giving up a two-goal lead to draw the match. A result against the Mariners will be crucial for their hopes in the tournament.
The Kolkata Derby “is a celebration for the city.” – Carles Cuadrat
Cuadrat spoke on the importance of the Kolkata derby. He appreciated the importance of the match by saying, “It’s a big legacy for the city. This kind of match has been happening for more than 100 years and it is a celebration for the city.” He spoke on their preparation by saying, “We have been working for the past two weeks since my arrival and we are ready to play this fantastic game in a fantastic atmosphere.”
Cuadrat opined on Mohun Bagan’s strength, “We know they are a powerful team. They are preparing for the AFC Cup later this month. There are also the ISL champions and we know that they are also bringing new players but we have a full new team.” However, he did not undermine East Bengal’s chances of taking the game to the Mariners, “We have players like Mandar who are experienced in playing big games. We will punish them when we have the chance.”
Playing a strong Mohun Bagan team this early will be “an opportunity to improve our tactics” – Carles Cuadrat
Cuadrat spoke on playing a fixture of this magnitude this early in the season when he said, “For sure this is a pre-season game and it’s very early to play this fixture but the guys are working hard. I see this as an opportunity to improve our tactics in front of a big opponent and get ready for the season ahead”
Cuadrat also addressed the fitness concerns in the squad as seen in their previous match by saying. “Fitness problems are always present in the preseason with the players getting very tired in the last few minutes of the match leading to mistakes that shouldn’t happen.” Cuadrat added, “We have been working a lot in our four weeks of preparation to reduce fatigue. A minimum of 6 players will have to play 90 minutes for sure. Mistakes from fatigue happen in football and it was a learning lesson for all of us.“
The supporters “understand that this a process” with ups and downs – Carles Cuadrat
Cuadrat expressed his gratitude to the East Bengal supporters, “The supporters are great, you can see how they love the club and are excited to see things happening. We have a lot to give to them and they understand that this is a process. There have been two steps up and two steps down but we want to show consistency and we are just thankful and we hope to see them here tomorrow.“
Cuadrat spoke on the expectations from the squad, “You have to look at the fact that there are only two players in the side from the previous season. It is still too early for most of the players who started the pre-season barely three weeks ago. We have a lot of good players who will have to come on the pitch with a lot of energy and try to stop them.”
The Kolkata Derby will be played on 12th August from 4:45 pm at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati stadium in Kolkata
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