SC East Bengal currently sits at the 10th position in the points table. They have played one match less when compared to bottom-placed NorthEast United FC but have an equal amount of points with them. The Torchbearers have only managed to collect 10 points from the 15 games they have played so far. The Red and Gold Brigades played out a 2-2 draw against Chennaiyin FC in their last game.
Their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs are about to get over if they don’t win their next game against Odisha FC who are placed 8th on the standings. The Juggernauts have 18 points from the 14 matches they have played. Odisha FC had a 1-1 draw against FC Goa in their last match.
Below are the excerpts of coach Mario Rivera from the press conference.
Although SC East Bengal couldn’t win the last game against Chennaiyin FC, the team had made an inspiring comeback. Mario shared his views on if he would rate it as the best performance of this season.
“Yes, I think it’s one of the best games that we played this season along with the first half in the Kolkata derby. I think both of those games was the best performance in this season.”
SC East Bengal are virtually out of the playoff race. Rivera spoke about how is motivating the players to give their best in this situation.
“It’s easy because our players are very professional. They want to win and they want to give their best performance. They want to show everyone that they are good players and that they don’t deserve to be in our present position at the table. They are hungry to win and play the next matches. it’s easy also because they have a lot of motivation from themselves.”
The gaffer spoke if there’s a realistic chance for the team to finish mid-table this season.
“Honestly speaking we are not thinking about that. We are only thinking about the next match. We want to move forward match by match. Our target is always to try to get the three points in the next game that we play. At the end of the season, we will see if finish in the middle of the points table or any other position. But presently we are only thinking about getting the three points in our next game against Odisha FC.”
SC East Bengal looked like a different team in the second half against Chennaiyin FC. Mario was asked what was the talk like at half-time that made the players turn around the game in the second half.
“In the half time, I asked the players to be braver and to go and try everything to win the game and they did it. But I feel that they need to lose some weight and start to play freely. When you change this thing in a team then it’s a very good moment, because the players will be playing freely and they believe in themselves.”
Rivera gave his assessment of the opponents Odisha FC.
“They (Odisha FC) are a good team. I think this season all the teams are really good. Odisha FC are a team that is always balanced and they always have many players in midfield. So it’s very difficult to play against them, and also they have dangerous players with a lot of experience in ISL. They also have some very good players who have played some matches in La Liga. They have fast wingers and they are a complete team.”
Mario gave his verdict of Marcelo Ribeiro and his performance so far.
“For Marcelo, I expected the same that he’s doing. He’s working a lot and he’s giving us a lot of chances, a lot of situations in the opponent half. He’s winning almost all of the duels. In the last match, he won most of the duels against Slavko Damjanovic who is undoubtedly one of the best center backs in the league. He helped the team a lot in helping the team receive and hold the ball up front. It was because of him that we could start playing in the opponent’s half.
“He has been a really good signing for us because if you review all the 14 chances we had in the last match, he was always arriving at the box and participated in almost all of the action. In my opinion, we cannot assess a striker by their stats or finishing ability, or any other attributes. Doesn’t matter he is scoring or not scoring, we are happy with his effort and also he’s giving us many chances. If he continues like this I am sure the goals will come sooner or later.”
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