Even as DSK Shivajians prepare to host East Bengal in a second round fixture of the I-League, the away side's coach Trevor Morgan felt that it was an important fixture for the Red and Golds after they managed to only draw their opening game against Aizawl FC. The Englishman professed, "It's an important game. We didn't get off to the start that we wanted, although we did not lose. It makes the upcoming game very important."
The 60-year-old also played down the significance of the 2-0 reverse East Bengal had to endure the last time they visited this part of India. "It won't play on my mind. I wasn't here at that time and also last season is gone now. The coaches are different now and the players too. The circumstances are different," he said. Morgan also opined that the standards of Indian football has improved and pointed out that there are no freebies in the I-League anymore.
"Nobody can assure anything, first of all. Football doesn't work that way. Look at Leicester City last season. They were massive outsiders and still won the Premier League. The standard of Indian footballers has risen. There's a massive difference in the way they play now. I don't think there are any weak teams in the I-League now. Anything that we get, we have to work hard and earn," he professed.
He also confirmed that new signing Robin Singh will feature in his matchday squad but indicated that he might not make the starting XI. "He'll (Robin Singh) be in the squad. He joined training only on Wednesday and so hasn't been with us for long. There's nothing wrong with his fitness but maybe he lacks some match sharpness," he said.
The former Dempo coach also admitted that he has been forced to look up YouTube videos for information on opposition players due to the lack of sufficient video footage. He revealed, "It is very difficult to get information on teams in the early part of the season. They've got a new coach, a new system. Once we get some recordings back from the TV, we'll be okay. We surf through YouTube at times to get some video footage on players."
On the other hand, Dave Rogers, coach of DSK Shivajians who suffered a 1-0 reverse to rivals Mumbai FC in their opening match, said that he was excited to play East Bengal at home. He said, "It's exciting. There are no easy games in this league. We're playing against one of the most recognisable and successful teams in the country. We're prepared and ready to take them head on. We're the new club and they're the giants of Indian football but we're working hard and trying to build the club."
The 41-year-old Englishman also sounded bullish when he declared that DSK Shivajians' vision was to become the most successful club in India with proper focus towards grassroots development.
He elaborated, "We don't set targets. Our football club only wants progress. We take one game at a time. We'll reassess at the end of the season. We want to win football games the right way. We are building the club with focus on grassroots and the foundation. That's what we are all about. Success doesn't come overnight. We want to become successful by developing our own stars. We're trying to stabilise this club."
Rogers also provided an update on goalkeeper Subrata Pal, who is recovering from an injury. "Subrata? he trained today. We'll make some assessments and decide tomorrow," he signed off.