Trevor James Morgan looked a happy man after his team’s 3-0 win over Pailan Arrows at Kalyani Stadium on Sunday. East Bengal had lost 3 of their last 4 matches in all competitions and their coach was clearly relieved to get back to winning ways.
“It was a tough time. We hadn’t lost anything since February and suddenly we lost three out of four (games). Obviously, it feels great to get three points again,” he opined.
Morgan made quite a number of changes in the line-up. He introduced Abhijit Mondal to replace Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, whose performance against Mumbai FC last weekend raised many eyebrows. Robert Lalthlamuana was brought in left back for Saumik Dey. Naoba Singh was also dropped and Harmanjot Khabra was given the responsibility to play at the right back and occasionally overlap.
The British coach stressed on wing play as he handed Lalrindika Ralte a rare start ahead of Ishfaq Ahmed. Sanju Pradhan and Robin Singh were also included in the first XI.
“Yes, it was important to bring in some changes. I am satisfied with the way the team has played. We played some good attacking football and I am happy with the way the changes have clicked,” said Morgan who had taken the blame after the loss to Mumbai FC stating that he picked the wrong team.
Morgan stressed on the fact that the Robin Singh’s goal in the 43rd minute changed the course of the game.
“We had a few good chances in the first half, but couldn’t really capitalize on them. But a goal in the first half is always important. If that does not happen, the opposition can regroup in the break and rectify their faults,” he explained.
The East Bengal coach also heaped praise on Khabra who did a decent job as a full-back, a position where he would often be deployed at Sporting Clube de Goa.
“He (Khabra) is one of those so-called utility players. Whenever you have problem in forming the team, he can lend balance and fills in the gap. It’s always an advantage to have players like Khabra in our team.”
Sanju Pradhan, who has been injured for most parts of the season, scored a brace against Pailan.
“It’s great to have Sanju back in form. I always say that the second goal is always important. It gives you a sense of security. I think a three goal margin is great given there were many goal-line saves and denial by posts.”
East Bengal finished the first leg with 24 points from 12 matches. Morgan looked pleased with the overall performance of the team. He though was sceptical about his defence. “I know the defence becomes complacent when the team leads 3-0. Maybe, those risks would have not been taken if the score was 0-0. Still I would like that my team always remain aware of the situations.”East Bengal will next play Salgaocar in Goa. The fact that Uga Okpara will be back from his suspension should certainly boost the team’s morale.
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