After a disappointing 1-1 draw against Shillong Lajong last week, Mohun Bagan are up against I-League newbies Neroca FC at home on Tuesday. The Green and Maroons will be eyeing full three points from the clash as they currently stand third in the league table behind Minerva Punjab FC and Lajong.
Ahead of the important clash against Neroca, Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen addressed the media and stressed the fact they cannot afford to lose points in their home matches. Sen said, "We have to learn from our past mistakes. It is not that we haven't scored goals in the game against Minerva and Lajong, the two games we dropped points in. We conceded after scoring the first goal and it is imperative that we don't drop points in our home games."
Bagan have multiple injury concerns in their squad. Japanese midfielder Yuta Kinowaki is out of the next few games after he dislocated his shoulder against Churchill Brothers. In the same match Sony Norde and Ansumana Kromah suffered injuries and were out of action against Lajong.
Speaking about injury problems, the Bagan coach said, "It is a part and parcel of the modern game. Unfortunately this season the injuries are a bit more but we have to make results from what we have. Arijit Bagui will miss the game due to injury. Also, we are missing Yuta of course but it does not mean the team was wholly reliant on him. He played the lone match and he was good and everyone termed him as the man to look out for. We might never know if he would have been that important for us until and unless he plays more games. So it is unfortunate but there is no point crying over spilt milk."
Sanjoy Sen further mentioned that Mohun Bagan have never been a consistent side in the last three seasons during which they won Federation Cup and I-League. "For the last three years I have been harping over the lack of consistency and seldom has it been that Mohun Bagan have won three games back-to-back. If you look at it, right now we are kind of in a similar position in terms of points compared to our title-winning season," quipped Sen.
On their opponents Neroca, Sen opined, "They are a good side with five good foreigners. They have Subash Singh and Saran Singh who were once part of our team. Even Govin Singh has played for India and Felix Chidi already has two goals to his name. Gift and I have a good relation. He is a young and enterprising coach and they are an organised outfit."
Neroca coach Gift Raikhan was confident about facing giants Mohun Bagan. He said, "It will be good for the people of Manipur if NEROCA beat a big club like Mohun Bagan. But beating Mohun Bagan is not easy at all and everyone knows that. We won our last two games after losing our first one and the boys are now highly motivated and they want to show that they can play that football of a higher standard. We will stick to our plan and give our hundred percent."
When asked if it is an added advantage that Bagan will miss several key players due to injuries and suspension, Raikhan replied, "We cannot predict. They are not about one or two important foreigners. Mohun Bagan is Mohun Bagan. The club's name is there and they will play for the club's name. It is not going to be easy. Despite their injuries and suspension, they will still be strong."