A confident and eager Manolo Diaz and his assistant Angel Puebla sat down for a chat with the media on Saturday ahead of SC East Bengal‘s opener against Jamshedpur FC on Sunday. The Red and Gold Brigade has seen a complete overhaul of the coaching staff and the players in the summer and look fresh and optimistic ahead of the new season.
SC East Bengal have played 4 friendlies in the preseason – winning 3 of them against Salgaocar, Gokulam Kerala, and Vasco SC, and drawing against ISL champions Mumbai City FC.
In the press conference, Manolo Diaz spoke about their preparations ahead of the new season and their new striker Daniel Chima.
East Bengal had a disastrous first year in the Indian Super League as they finished 9th in the table, winning just 3 out of the 20 league games under the tutelage of Robbie Fowler. “This season, we have a new set of players and coaching staff this year. We respect last year’s results and will look to improve as much as we can.”, said the new gaffer.
The 53-year-old was at the helm of Real Madrid’s youth academy Castilla‘s teams in the last decade. He is known to be a flexible tactician and his side played various formations in the friendlies while keeping the back four intact. “We have played a few friendlies and have become familiar with the quality every individual in the side has. We will look to go game-by-game and find different solutions for playing different teams, remaining flexible.”
The Kolkata-based club will face Jamshedpur FC in their opening game, a side that has strengthened their roster with some high-profile signings in the summer, especially in the attacking third. Speaking about the opposition, Manolo said “Jamshedpur have kept their core and also made some changes to their side. We have practiced hard and know what we will come up against tomorrow.”
Daniel Chima has been one of the standout signings for the Red and Gold brigade this year. The Nigerian marksman has had a prolific record throughout his career and East Bengal fans will hope that he finds his scoring boots early on in the season. “We all know about Chima’s ability but he is not the only forward in the team. Chima will only improve if he is supported by the other ten players.”
It will be quite the achievement if SC East Bengal can make it to the playoffs despite making their squad in only a matter of days.
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