Mohun Bagan host table-toppers Chennai City FC in an I-League 2018/19 game on Saturday at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata.
The Green and Maroons are currently under pressure after losing their last match 0-3 to Churchill Brothers at home. They will be eyeing a win against a very tough Chennai side and regain their confidence before they face arch-rivals East Bengal on December 16.
Speaking about how he motivated the team after losing to Churchill, Mohun Bagan coach Sankarlal Chakraborty said, “We had a discussion after the Churchill match. Before playing Churchill, we played four matches and we played really well so we took positives from those matches.
"We got a total of 13 corners in the last match. Sony hit the post once. It was just a bad day. But now we face a strong side like Chennai. We have to give our best against them. They are at the top of the table. We have to beat them. If we don't win tomorrow we will be under pressure. So I think tomorrow's match can be a turning point in this season.”
The Bagan coach continued, “The entire team collapsed against Churchill. We discussed about the entire team. We have to beat Chennai. We believe we can win against Chennai. You have to believe in yourself. It is a rare instance the entire team failed. We can't over think that. We have to look forward and perform well tomorrow.”
Sankarlal considers Chennai to be the favourites in the match as they are in a very good shape at the moment. He said, “The last match we played badly and Chennai are at the top of the table and are performing consistently. They have a very strong attack and scoring a lot of goals. So they are of course favourites.”
On the match against Mohun Bagan, Chennai City coach Akbar Nawaz opined, “We try to win every game. That's the most important thing. I know its Mohun Bagan. They are of course a big team but all opponents for me are same. I want to win all the matches.”
Chennai have already played a match in Kolkata against East Bengal which they won 2-1. On asked if playing in Kolkata earlier will be an advantage for his side, Nawaz said, “Of course we have played a match in Kolkata already but I don't think that's an advantage. So whether we won against East Bengal doesn’t matter. Mohun Bagan is a different team and tomorrow will be a different game. I can’t think about the past.”
The Singaporean coach refused to believe that Mohun Bagan’s defeat against Churchill will affect the outcome of Saturday’s clash. He said, “It's a tricky and risky situation to think about Mohun Bagan losing to Churchill. In football, such things happen. Mohun Bagan is a very balanced team. Churchill was a one-off game. I am not thinking about their previous game. They are still a very big team. We have to play our natural game and see what happens after 90 minutes.”
The former Tampines Rovers coach suggested that now as they are at the top of the table and are unbeaten in the league so far the pressure will increase. He said, “Our main phase begins now. Once you go unbeaten it gets tougher. The expectations and pressure is higher. Teams want to beat you. So we have to be very careful.”