It suits us when the opposition also sets out to win - Mohun Bagan's Karim Bencherifa

After earning their first point in the I-League, Karim Bencherifa took time out to explain the unique situation the club is in, and how he would take them out of the quandary...
Karim Bencherifa highlighted how unique and precarious his position at Mohun Bagan now was, after earning their first point against minnows United Sikkim FC. He also spoke of the problems he had to face, right from the time he had joined the Mariners for his second tenure.

"Our situation is, we need to start getting maximum points. Since I joined Bagan, there has been no stability, things did not go smoothly. I had almost half of my team injured. Basically it was a difficult job right from Day I. Under all these circumstances which has happened since the derby, it has become tougher."

Speaking about the performance on the day, and his tactical switch late in the second half when he went 4-3-3 from a 4-4-2, Karim was happy with the performance while still lamenting on the lack of match fitness.

"First game we had lost against Salgaocar. Today the performance was much improved. We dominated for most of the match and also created a lot of chances. Although the team is fit and we have no injury concerns, the lack of match fitness is the problem."

"In the second half I decided to bring on CS Sabeeth and arguably play with three strikers upfront and that really worked as we then had a firm grip of the match."

On Syed Rahim Nabi, playing out of position as a striker, Karim said that he had no choice especially with club skipper Odafa Okolie out suspended.

"I pick players now, considering the situation we are in, not on their favoured positions. I try and get the best playing XI on the field as these situations need players with a certain mental toughness in them."

Karim asserted that Tolgay Ozbey who had a torrid time, should be given more match opportunities to get back into rhythm, while dismissing the fact that the I-League has any easy team against whom three points are guaranteed.

"Tolgay did not have the best outing today. But that is expected. He was out for three and a half months and this is only his third competitive match on the trot. Given time, I am sure he will be back to his best."

On their next opponents Prayag United and the way to save relegation, Karim was pragmatic.

"I am targeting a minimum of 9 wins to save relegation. So as long as we have 9 matches left even, I am sure we can do it. The fans too will be back to support us, once we have the first win under our belt and the players too will get the confidence."

"Prayag are a top team, but as we have seen they also have ups and downs. Moreover, I like teams that want to win and this will certainly suit us, as it will leave us space to exploit them."

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