East Bengal registered a 2-1 victory over Shillong Lajong on Saturday evening as they continue to lead the I-League standings with 27 points from 12 games.
Christopher Payne scored a couple of goals for the Kolkata outfit while Aser Dipanda pulled one back for the hosts.
“We needed to accept the challenges that have been thrown down to us. Football is about challenges and we’ve accepted that challenge today. It’s not been a good ground (Jawaharlal Nehru stadium) for us but we got the result we needed. Maybe the performance was not as good as we’ve been playing recently, but at the end of the day it’s about winning football matches and we’ve done that today,” said coach Trevor Morgan.
The former Dempo SC coach pointed that Payne was unlucky not to have scored a hat-trick but pointed that his team did well to ward off the pressure put on by Lajong in the second half.
“I think Chris was very unfortunate just maybe not to get a third goal. Good bit of play with Robin(Singh), if that had gone it, it would have been game over.
“But you know when you’re in a position where the home team gets a goal back and the home fans get behind them, it’s a completely different game and it was a different game. But we dug deep, defended well, got bodies on the line and everybody did that,” he mentioned.
Morgan was questioned if the absence of AFC Cup commitments has helped East Bengal this season as Bengaluru FC and Mohun Bagan have a lot of fixtures in the next two months or so.
“Well, of course .Obviously, with both Bengaluru and Mohun Bagan both playing in the AFC Cup and we’ve been in the position ourselves before. I think all footballers, they want play games because the more games you play, the more successful you are but for us probably it’s come at a good time,” he reasoned.
Mohammed Rafique put in an important performance for East Bengal in the absence of Wedson Anselme and Willis Plaza.
“You know we’ve been able to realise just how important the squad is and sometimes when’re you’re not in the squad or you’re not in the team, that’s difficult to comprehend. Rafique played in the first game of the season but he has not been involved ever since and he’s come in today and put in that performance. He was great, he did a fantastic job for us and the team,” said Morgan.
East Bengal next come up against Churchill Brothers before travelling to Chennai to face Chennai City FC on March 12.
“We’ve managed to get two wins from two away games, we’ve got a home game coming up now which we need to win. We have one more game then we have the break.
The break will give everybody the chance to give the players some time off. Everyone gets the chance to recharge their batteries but we have to keep ourselves in the mix so when we come back with the few games to go, we’re ready,” he signed off.