Alejandro Menendez's first outing as East Bengal manager in a Calcutta Football League (CFL) game did not go as planned. The Red and Golds were beaten in their CFL opener by George Telegraph 1-0 at home.
Despite the loss, the Spaniard chose to see the positives. "I am happy with the performance of the players. I think our system has been working. Another positive aspect is that young players are getting game time. I think we managed the game in a good way. The other team defended very deep. We had three chances to score but we didn't score. We couldn't finish. In these games, if you don't finish the opposition will take advantage of that."
East Bengal were on the back foot from the start as the club could register only one fit foreigner - Marti Crespi - for the matchday squad. However, Menendez begged to differ, 'Less foreign players isn't a problem. We put one player from the academy. This is a very positive aspect of this match.
"In these type of games, it is like trials for these young players. We need to do a deeper analysis."
Analyzing the defeat, the former Real Madrid Castilla manager said, "This is something that can happen. When you are attacking too much and the players are tired you can concede goals. It is good that this happened in this much rather than the main matches.
"My target is that the team apply on the field what we train. Of course, we want to win matches."
Speaking on new recruit Marti Crespi, he commented, "Marti's getting used to the rhythm of the team. He just started training. You need to play games to get used to the team."
Lastly, the 53-year-old came out with a scathing statement, criticizing the cramped scheduling of both the Durand Cup and the CFL this season. Both these tournaments have been running simultaneously, which has resulted in teams like Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammed Sporting having to play two or more games in a week.
"Whatever is happening is completely against professional football," opined Menendez.