I-League 2017-18 leaders East Bengal were denied the three points against Churchill Brothers in their clash on Monday after a 75th minute equalizer from Mechac Koffi.
The recent schedule has not been kind for the Kolkata giants and head coach Khalid Jamil said that the home-side had enjoyed an advantage in that regard.
“The advantage Churchill (Brothers) had was that the recovery was good for them. They had more than two weeks of rest when we were playing continuously,” Jamil said at the post-match press conference in Goa.
The former I-League winner with Aizawl FC said that his players had to improve their performances going forward after dropping the two points on Monday.
“We missed two vital points. We tried very hard but we have to rectify our mistakes. All the players who come on the pitch must give their best. Any changes (substitutes) who come in as well should be effective,” he stated.
With the big Kolkata derby with Mohun Bagan set to take place on January 21, Jamil was asked about his preparations for the same but the East Bengal man said his focus was only on the next game.
“(The Kolkata) derby is still a long way off. We are thinking about the next match (against Aizawl FC on 16 Jan,” he said plainly.
With Dudu Omagbem on the way to his second stint with the Red and Golds, Jamil refused to confirm if he will feature in the next game though he is expected to be a certainty for the derby.
For the Goa-based side, it was the first point earned in a dismal campaign which started with five straight losses and coach Alfred Fernandes took comfort in that fact.
“At least after five matches, the points are on the table. If not one, we could have come out with full three points but no complaints. I'm happy with the result,” he commented.
The Churchill boss was delighted with Koffi’s instant impact and expressed confidence that the rest of the new signings will bring a big boost to his side.
“(Mechac) Koffi was the thing that the doctor ordered. You have seen his quality and a little bit of luck could have been the other way for his injury also. He had slightly less mobility but hats off to him as a professional - he continued despite the injury (knock on the thigh).
“The Asian guy (Kyrgyzstan defender Hussein Eldor) is reaching tomorrow. Cisse (Gwada) is also expected soon but they are only eligible to play after the 15th which is when the transfer window starts. Bektur (Talgat) was supposed to land on Wednesday but we haven't heard from him lately.
“With quality players, I am confident that the graph will be going up,” Fernandes explained.
Goal-scorer Koffi was delighted to have given his team a share of the spoils despite not being fully fit.
“I know some players from my country who have played here before. I didn't know before that this league (I-League) exists but now I can see that it's very good. So I must take some good experience for the next games,” he said.
“I have come here to achieve something and to make sure that my name stays on. You must take it game-by-game, forget today's game. I was not physically at my best today because of the slight injury. This point will give the team the much needed power to come strong,” Koffi added before signing off.