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East Bengal’s Mario Rivera targets I-League title despite defeat to Indian Arrows

8:10 PM IST 01/02/20
East Bengal vs Indian Arrows
The new East Bengal coach backed under-fire players Marcos De La Espada and Jaime Santos Colado…

Mario Rivera had a disappointing debut as the head coach of East Bengal after the Kolkata club went down 0-1 to Indian Arrows on Saturday at the Kalyani Stadium. 

Rivera, who took over the reins after Alejandro Menendez resigned from his post reached Kolkata on Saturday morning and was present in the dugout against Arrows.

The Spaniard acknowledged that he is facing a big challenge to revive East Bengal’s season. “For me, it is a big challenge and we will give our best. I sat on the bench after 16 hours of flight. I could have sat in the gallery and taken no responsibility but I wanted to be with the team,” said Rivera.

The East Bengal boss suggested that the lapse in concentration from his players was a major reason for the team's loss against the young Indian Arrows side.

“The result is not good obviously. The team played well in patches. The players need to concentrate. After missing key chances, they go missing. Then again they will play well and again after missing chances they were missing from the game.”

Regardless of the team’s current position, the head coach is hopeful of turning things around and he still believes that the team can win the league.

“I think we still have a chance. All teams are equal and all of them can win the league. If we get a couple of wins we have a chance. Last season we had a similar difference with Chennai but we came back.”

East Bengal are 12 points behind arch-rivals and league leaders Mohun Bagan but Rivera suggested that he considers the difference with Bagan to be only nine points as he is confident of winning the second leg of the Kolkata derby.

“For me, the difference with Mohun Bagan is nine points because I am confident we will win the second leg derby.”

The new East Bengal coach backed under-fire forwards Marcos Jimenez and Jaime Santos Colado. He said, “I don’t like to look back. This is our team. Marcos (Jimenez) has scored five goals. He is getting chances to score and that is important. I think he is a very good striker and I don't want to compare him with Enrique Esqueda or any other players.

“I think (Jaime Santos) Colado is playing well. Last season when he came, nobody knew him. Now everybody knows him. When the team wins everybody looks good but when they lose players look bad. I think Colado is the same.”