East Bengal head coach Alejandro Menendez is counting picking all three points on offer when his side hosts the Indian Arrows in an I-League encounter at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Friday.
Three points against the young developmental side will go a long way in boosting the team's confidence ahead of the Kolkata derby against Mohun Bagan on January 27, felt the Spaniard.
"We will go for three points tomorrow (Friday). We need it to build confidence before the derby: The team will be more confident for the game if we can get three points. But we will go step by step," he mentioned.
"Arrows is a good team and it will be a tough match for us. They are strong and very competitive."
The Red and Golds, however, will miss Lalrindika Ralte and his set-piece ability after the midfielder picked up a red card in the previous match against Chennai City FC which ended 2-1 in the Coimbatore-based side's favour. Costa Rican defender Johnny Acosta is on the verge of a suspension, having accumulated three yellow cards. Another card in this game could rule him out of the derby. But Menendez is not worried.
"We will put another player in his (Ralte) place. We have players who can take set pieces. Lets see who can deliver in his absence," he stated. "We will try to avoid Acosta getting a card. If he gets one, we will field another player."
The loss to Chennai City saw East Bengal dealt a setback in their title pursuit, with the South Indian team pulling eight points clear of the Red and Golds. But Menendez feels they still have a chance.
"Yes, we are still in the hunt for the league title. There are many matches to play and some are between the teams who are fighting for the league. So if we play well, we have a chance.
"Against Chennai, we played well and our performance was good. But we need to play like how we played played in the first few matches."
Indian Arrows coach Floyd Pinto, on the other hand, was optimistic about delivering a better performance than what they showcased in the reverse fixture at Bhubaneshwar which East Bengal won 2-1.
"We played East Bengal only 10 days ago. So, irrespective of what happened in the games after that, the memories from the particular match are still fresh. So we believe we can come up with a much better performance in Kolkata," he said.
"We play every game in the I-League to win, whether it be against East Bengal or any other team."
"I'm very happy with the performances of the boys. We have evolved tactically and there was a big difference in the way we played Shillong Lajong in the previous match and before that in the reverse fixture. To beat them 3-0 and control the game like they did was very heartening to see. I think these boys will not disappoint."