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After ONGC continued their revival under new manager Santosh Kashyap, the former Mohun Bagan coach took time out to praise his team for their work ethic and spirit...

Santosh Kashyap, who has helmed the fairy tell revival of bottom placed ONGC FC to a commendable 7th position on the I-League table, was all praise for his team after yet another giant killing act as they overcame East Bengal at home.

A side which looked clueless, has looked solid and dependable under the former Mohun Bagan coach's tutelage as they have picked 10 points from a possible 12 in the last four games.

When asked how he had approached the game against the Kolkata giants, Kashyap was quick to accept that they had been completely outplayed in the first half, but gave a good account of themselves after the break and also praised the team's clinical display in front of goal.

"We defended well in the first half, where we had to absorb a lot of pressure. In the second half we did well, we had three chances and we converted one among them. I am happy that everyone has put in their best effort and we won the game because of our team spirit."

With Eric Brown suspended, Kashyap had to make some personnel changes which worked wonders for him and he took time out to praise Waheed Sali who played really well.

"I had to play Naresh at left back as Joel (Sequiera) was out due to injury. But I believe (Waheed) Sali really played well today. Bimal Minz was away due to some personal work and hence we had to change the positions in the back four."

When asked whether his team was under pressure to perform and stay clear of relegation, Kashyap said that it was nothing like that, and his boys always gave their best when they were on the field.

"We were not under pressure. We always try to give our best and stick to our plan. My players implemented what we discussed of not giving the opposition space to attack in the final third."

Kashyap praised his team's solidity and resolute defense as they stood unmoved by the relentless opposition barrages. However he asserted that East Bengal were very much title contenders this season.

"We did not let them score. They were frustrated and thus played long passes from the defence to the attacking third and could not build-up. We had a strong goalkeeper (Rehnesh TP), and Penn Orji was well marked by Jatin Bisht who did a great job on him."
 
On asked whether wins against title contenders such as the Red and Golds boosts his confidence as a coach, Kashyap was quick to point that every game was a learning process. He also said that his stint with Mohun Bagan, no matter how short had helped him become a better coach.
 
"Yes, victories against top sides do help. Coaches have to learn with every game and practice session. My short stint with Mohun Bagan has also helped me become a better coach. It's a gradual learning process. Just because we managed to beat a top team doesn't mean that the job is done."

He mentioned that the I-League was very competitive and the gaps between the teams were easily bridgeable.

"We have a long way to go this season. The gap between all the teams in the middle and bottom half of the table is mighty close and anyone can catch up within one or two games. So it's a tough battle every match."

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