Mohun Bagan head coach Sankarlal Chakraborty is optimistic about his side's chances against defending champions Aizawl when they lock horns at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Aizawl on Thursday.
Mohun Bagan defeated East Bengal 2-0 in their last match the Sankarlal believes the win will act as a motivational boost. "Yes, winning is always a good motivation. Our aim is to win the match tomorrow and stay in the championship (race)."
"Aizawl is always tough. The combination of the team is excellent. It is not easy to beat them," said Sankarlal.
Bagan are fifth on the table with 16 points from 10 matches.
"We are not focusing on the other teams and their standings. We are focusing match-by-match. Before (Kolkata) derby, East Bengal was our target. Now, it is Aizawl," expressed the coach.
"The next eight matches, including (the match against) Aizawl, are big for Mohun Bagan."
Aizawl have picked up two points less compared to the Kolkata-based club but have a game in hand. They are one place below Mohun Bagan in the standings.
"We will try to put our style into practice. It is the best way to get three points. We try to get into opponent's box and try to score," said Aizawl FC head coach Paulo Menezes.
Defender Kareem Omolaja is injured and won't be taking part against Bagan. "Of course, everybody knows the importance of a player like Kareem. I am sure his replacement will perform well."
Maish Saighani's own-goal and Aser Dipanda's second-half strike ensured three points for Mohun Bagan when they played Aizawl in Kolkata.
"If you remember the match in Kolkata, we controlled the match. I have doubts about offside on the second goal they scored. We played a very good game to get points there but we did not. But tomorrow, we play at home and are the champions. We will fight for three points," said Menezes.
When asked if a defeat to Mohun Bagan will end their race for the title, Menezes was confident in his answer.
"We will not lose tomorrow."