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The former India coach hopes that his side can play the ‘pass-and-move’ brand of football…

East Bengal came back from being a goal down to score twice in the second half and keep their title hopes alive as they beat Pune FC for the second time in a week.

Coach Armando Colaco lamented that his side’s fitness isn’t the best and there has been no time to work on that due to the cramped schedule.

“See this team is not fit right from the beginning and I have been crying because they never did any pre-conditioning. It’s just that we are making them play, play, play. Now, this was a tough match and they also played a very tough match against Churchill. Now again there is no rest as we came by bus and there is no break.  So I am happy the way things are moving. A victory is a victory,” said Colaco.

He praised Pune FC for their brand of football but added that his defenders did a good job in ensuring they didn’t concede many.

“Let me be honest, there was no confidence before the game because Pune is a good team. They like to play. They like to come (attack).  But our defense stood well. There are no easy games here. If somebody says that he is confident and he expected those things (three points) then he is a fool. All teams are equally balanced.”

East Bengal would hope that Bengaluru FC don’t win any of their remaining two fixtures which shall aid their chances of winning their maiden title.

“Now we are at 40 points and we could have been at 43 points (had we won against Churchill). Things would have been much easier and better for us. We had it in our hands and now we have to depend on the outcome of the other matches. Anyway I am happy for the team from where it was and to where it has come. It is appreciable. The boys have put in a lot of hard work.”

Colaco had a word of advice for the East Bengal officials as he wants them not to change too many players in the squad next season.

“See, this team is really good. I have been telling them to keep this team and not to change. I told them to follow the Dempo style to keep the players with just one or two changes. We can make them understand because there are a few things to be settled again. Every now and then they (players) keep the ball and then go long. If they give the ball then you have the confidence that you can do what you want. But things are changing. They are beginning to understand that they don’t need many changes.”

Colaco explained his decision to start with Gurpreet Sandhu as Pune FC win a lot of corner-kicks and his height would allow him to win balls with ease.

“Something came up to me a day before the game because of the corners. I would said that I have to bring in Gurpreet. You see the best in this goalkeeping section of East Bengal as every goalkeeper when given a chance and they try to prove themselves.  They prove it, prove it and then they make blunders and then it’s like that. But I am happy that Gurpreet really worked.”

Colaco acknowledged that the ‘pass-and-move’ brand of football he built at Dempo isn’t easy to replicate at other clubs and would require a lot of patience.

“Yes, it will take time.”