Trevor Morgan: The Kolkata derby is no more crucial than our previous and next I-League match

The 59-year-old treats the high profile clash against Mohun Bagan as any other while shrugging off the notion of regional supremacy in the country...
East Bengal chief coach Trevor Morgan terms the Kolkata derby to be as crucial as any other I-League tie ahead of their match against Mohun Bagan on Saturday.

"[The match against Mohun Bagan is] no more crucial than last week's game against the Arrows and our next I-League game [against Air India] after the derby. The three points is all I am interested in," he told

"At this moment, as long as Raju [Gaikwad], Manandeep [Singh] and Mehtab [Hussain] all come back from national team duty uninsured, we should have a full squad to pick from," he added.

Morgan also hinted that a few extra days off after India's international friendly against Palestine would have helped the clubs as they could have afforded to give rest to the national team players.

"It hampers every team that had players in the national squad, not just us. There is nothing we can do about it," he stated. "Given the traveling the players have to do, it would have helped if maybe the game was on a Tuesday then we could have got them back for training on Thursday and Friday instead of the day before the game."

Two months later, derby day beckons once again!

With East Bengal currently leading the table and given that a team from Kolkata is yet to win the league title in the I-League era, the Englishman however went on to shrug off the notion of regional supremacy in the country.

"For me it does not matter what city the title goes to, it matters to me that the club I work for (East Bengal) are competitive and in contention for winning trophies. It is not a Goa versus Bengal competition - it is a club versus club situation and I want East Bengal to always be in the running to win things," he asserted.

Mohun Bagan are struggling in their battle to avoid relegation and on being asked whether he had anticipated this scenario at the start of the season, Morgan said, "Mohun Bagan have good players and if the events of December 9th had not occurred, they would be a team competing to win the I-League."

He then dodged the next question smartly when quizzed on the Mohun Bagan strike duo. "No plans [to keep Tolgay Ozbey and Odafa Okolie in check], and if there were I don't think I would be telling the media about it," he replied.

Rob Baan shares "master plan"
There has been a lot of talk lately in Indian football about trying to play the ‘pass-and-move’ style (Barcelona-esque). Trevor Morgan's opinion on the same, as a West Ham fan, was pretty straight forward. "Everyone has different ideas on playing, formations, and a group of players, they want to win games in a results orientated business, who's to say that a short passing game is more effective than a direct just have to work with the players, get the best out of them and win games, that will keep the supporters and officials happy, hopefully."

Speaking in terms of finding the talent in the country in order to adapt to this tiki-taka brand of football, he continued: "With the academies that are being put in place by Rob Baan (The AIFF technical director), good pitches to train on, the right information and assistance in on and off the field activities plus good coaching at a younger age then why not.

"It will take time and India may not see the benefit of it for four-to-five years but it is a start in right direction. Pune FC are way ahead of most clubs with their academy facilities and bringing younger talent through the ranks is important and in the long run could save clubs a lot of money," he concluded.

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