Mario Rivera – My first challenge will be to change the mood in the team

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SC East Bengal’s new head coach Mario Rivera revealed he wants his players to enjoy their football and give their best on the field as they face FC Goa in match 65 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 at Athletic Stadium, Bambolim on Wednesday.

Ahead of SC East Bengal’s clash against FC Goa, coach Rivera addressed the media during the official pre-match press conference.

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The Red and Gold are without a win and find themselves at the bottom of the table. But the Spaniard, in his first official conversation since taking charge as head coach, spoke about reviving his team’s fortunes.

“This has been a very tough time for us. We are mostly in quarantine and are only training in our rooms. We cannot do many things, but we are ready to fight for our club, to defend it on the field and try to give our best and get the first win for all of you (fans),” Rivera told SC East Bengal media team.

“We have received all of your messages, and we want to win the first match for you as soon as possible,” he added.

Mario gave his overall assessment of the SC East Bengal squad and what changes he will need to bring to the team to get their first win of the campaign.

“I think the team is much better than what the table is saying. But sometimes, situations affect the performance of the players. We will improve our position at the table. Everyone knows, I love attacking football, and I love for my team to be better in transition play.”

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SC East Bengal have had to spend time away from the training pitch due to quarantine and isolation rules due to the Covid-19 pandemic and have prepared for the match against FC Goa from their rooms.

“I am very happy to reach the field, but, sadly, the players didn’t play for many days. They have to again get to the pace of play, and it’s difficult because they want to but cannot. But we will overcome everything,” he said.

Mario spoke about the kind of approach he will have in ISL compared to his previous stint in the I-League, where he was assistant to Alejandro Menendez and was also at the helm as interim manager.

“The approach will be similar because it’s the same situation in a different league. The players are better than I-League players. The approach has to be to try to make the players enjoy their football and give their best on the field.”

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Ahead of his first-ever match managing a team in the ISL, Rivera spoke about what he will be looking forward to in the upcoming games.

“My first challenge will be to change the mood of the team. I have joined the team in the middle of the season because it’s not in a good position. So, I want to recalibrate the players mentally and improve the situation.”

Mario spoke about the difficulties he might face as he takes charge of a team in the middle of the season.

“It’s always difficult because you need to know the players very fast. You have to do all the things in a short period. And the most difficult thing for a coach is to select what are the most important areas where you want to improve the team.”

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SC East Bengal are eleventh in the points table with six points in 11 matches. They have failed to register a single win this season. Their recently appointed coach, Rivera, will replace Renedy Singh, who was the interim head coach. SC East Bengal lost 1-0 to Jamshedpur FC in their last match.

The Red and Gold Brigade will be hoping to script a turnaround in the second half of the season after a rather disappointing first half of the campaign. The Spaniard will look to get his tenure off to a positive start.

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