After a morale-boosting win over arch-rivals Mohun Bagan in the Kolkata Derby, East Bengal take on old foes Churchill Brothers in a crucial I-League encounter on Thursday in Goa.
East Bengal coach Alejandro Menendez, when asked about the team's confidence levels, said, “We are not thinking about the derby. We have to think about quick recovery, maybe we did not have enough time but we have to adjust and we have to play.”
On opponents Churchill Brothers, the Spanish coach opined, “I think Churchill is a team which play very well, especially they do well in attack. They can score many times. That can be difficult for us.”
He continued, “I think it will be an equal game. Both teams can win. I expect my team to do well and win the match. We have to try to be ourselves, to follow our style and to do everything we have been doing so far.”
On facing former East Bengal striker Willis Plaza, Menendez said, “Willis Plaza is a dangerous player especially in the box and we have to pay attention when the ball goes to him inside the box. If he gets the ball inside the box he can score.”
Churchill coach Petre Gigiu did not seem very confident ahead of facing East Bengal as he has too many injury concerns in his side.
On Thursday’s match, Gigiu said, “East Bengal come after a very nice win and I am sure the morale is very good. We come after a defeat and I don’t what exactly our morale is. At the same time, East Bengal are a very strong team and we have some players absent like (Hussein) Eldor, Wayne (Vaz). We will see about Khalid Aucho, Dawda Ceesay and Israil Gurung. It is possible that they also will be absent tomorrow. I cannot really tell about our game tomorrow.”
On Plaza facing his former club, the coach said, “Willis Plaza will play tomorrow for Churchill Brothers and it all depends on him how he will play tomorrow. I hope we play well tomorrow and score one goal more than the opponents.”
Petre Gigiu was defensive while speaking about their title hopes this year. He said, “It is normal to play for the first place for every team. Last season Churchill Brothers finished last. Normally the next year our target will be to finish sixth or seventh and then maybe in two or three years go for the championship. It takes time to build a team. Sure we have a good team but there is always a possibility to improve. It is difficult to win the title after a bad season. But we will try our best.”