I-League 2018-19: Khalid Jamil: East Bengal were hungrier than us

I-League Media
The coach is not looking to settle for anything less than three points after suffering a defeat in the derby...

Mohun Bagan weren' at their best in the Kolkata derby last weekend and coach Khalid Jamil acknowledged the same. He echoed the thoughts of Sony Norde that East Bengal were hungrier of the two teams.

"East Bengal were more hungry. We must work harder," said Jamil.

But the Mumbai-based coach remains confident that his side will be able to turn the tables against Gokulam Kerala.

"We are not thinking about the past but are focusing on our next match. We did not play up to the mark in our last match. We did not get what we wanted. But we must go ahead. Our target is to win three points. Later, we can think about other things. I cannot comment on where we will finish but the match against Gokulam is very important.

"It is not difficult to motivate the players as they are mature and professionals. Motivation is not a problem. We have to fight back. But the championship is still open for all teams who are in the top half of the table," commented Jamil.

He also informed that Yuta Kinowaki will not be available against Gokulam as the Japanese midfielder is still nursing an injury sustained during warm-up on Sunday.

Bagan's defence remains an area of concern as Eze Kingsley's poor run of form continues. It was Kingsley's error that led to the first goal against East Bengal but Jamil chose too defend the Nigerian.

"It is not about Kingsley. It is a team game. The position from they scored is because of our collective mistake. It is not fair to blame an individual."

On the other hand, Gokulam Kerala's newly appointed technical director Gift Raikhan believes that Chennai City and East Bengal are favourites in the championship race.

Gift Raikhan Aizawl FC I-League 2018-19

"The top four teams are very competitive. They will fight till the end. But I would bet on Chennai and East Bengal to win," stated Raikhan.

The former NEROCA coach made it clear that he has devised a special plans to stop Bagan's attacking trio.

"The match is very important for us as we want to steer away from relegation. I am looking for three points. Every team has special plans for Norde. Not only for Norde, but also for Dipanda Dicka and Henry Kisekka. I also have plans for them. Their attack is very strong."

Raikhan thinks that Gokulam's lack of experience and a completely new foreign contingent has affected their performance this season.

He also spoke about his time at Aizawl FC and made it clear that it was difficult to fight simultaneously in two competitions, namely the Mizoram Premier League (MPL) and the I-League.

"I had a contract with Aizawl FC. MPL was our main target as Aizawl had not won it for three years. We became champions. And by that time, I-League's first leg was over. We had to play back-to-back matches. It was very difficult," reasoned the Raikhan.

He was accompanied by new recruit Marcus Joseph, who has been grabbing the headlines for scoring two goals in two appearances for Gokulam. On questioned that whether he has done his homework on Bagan's defence he replied, "I don't know about their (Bagan's) defence but they should know me."