East Bengal play the first of their final six matches of the league season as they look to clinch their maiden I-League title. The Kolkata outfit are placed fourth on the table with 25 points from 13 matches and need to close gap at the top.
They are up against NEROCA FC on Thursday at the Salt Lake Stadium and coach Alejandro Menendez pointed that they can ill afford to take any team lightly.
“From now until the end of the season, all of our matches will be very difficult. This is a very good team and we will try to win this match. We need to get a strong start.
“It is a new match and we need three points to continue to remain in the title race. We are taking it match-by-match. We will see what happens in the next games. For our focus is on tomorrow's (Thursday) game,” said the Spaniard.
The Red and Gold play on Thursday before they embark on a trip to Kashmir where they will up against fellow title contenders Real Kashmir on Sunday. Menendez expressed his disappointment over the scheduling of the I-League games.
“This is a tough a situation for us. This is not a good schedule for the I-League. If the league wants to grow big, they need to see these things. When you play so many matches in less time, it is bound to affect the performance of the teams,” he opined.
The former Atletico Madrid coach stated that the most consistent team would go on to win silverware at the end of the season.
“We are just focusing on our next match. I have always said that the team who is consistent will win and so we have to perform consistently,” he said.
The 52-year-old mentioned that his team doesn’t have any injury concerns with Emrique Esqueda very much ready to be included in the starting eleven.
“We don't have any special plans for any players. We are just focusing on NEROCA and focusing on things that we can do well against them. We don't have any injuries. All the players are ready and we will field the best possible XI tomorrow.”
“Our motive is to win every game. Churchill's results or any other team’s results don’t matter.”
He further went on to claim that East Bengal are the best in the I-League when it comes to taking advantage of deadball situations.
“We are the best team in set-pieces and that is very important.”