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Durand Cup 2019: East Bengal’s Alejandro Menendez - Just thinking about winning doesn't help

13:01 EAT 20/08/2019
Gokulam Kerala vs East Bengal
The former Real Madrid youth coach has stressed that East Bengal are giving their 100 per cent in the Durand Cup

East Bengal are set to face Gokulam Kerala in the first semi-final of the 2019 Durand Cup at the Salk Lake Stadium in Kolkata, on Wednesday.

"Tomorrow (Wednesday), for me, is a game where I want to see my team doing the good things in order to win it," voiced the Red and Golds coach, Alejandro Menandez, ahead of the tie.

"All the teams are preparing for the season. It's a good test and there is a good level of competition to perform in the way we have been training. To use these games to prepare for the league doesn't mean that we don't give our 100 per cent. We are using this tournament to improve but it is not possible to say that we are at the top of our performance at this moment. But of course, we will go into the game with our 100 per cent," he added.

Though East Bengal have scored 10 goals in the league stage, the Kolkata side's defence will have to deal with the threat from Marcus Joseph who has scored eight of Gokulam Kerala's 11 goals in the tournament.

However, the Spaniard maintained, "Just like (for) the other strikers, we have our system for defending. Nothing else. It's a challenge which can be an individual challenge, and here we have to be better with a lot of work and focus."

While Abhijit Sarkar is suffering from a knee injury that the coach has confirmed to be "not too serious", Jamie Colado is available for Wednesday's clash. Menendez commented, "To have a player like this in a condition to play is always good. They help to improve the level of the team and of course, the performance of the team."

Alejandro Menendez may be just two games away from first trophy at East Bengal but the 53-year-old denied suggestions that there is pressure on him. 

"I played a lot of tournaments. Some won, some lost, life goes on. We are always motivated and what I am thinking is to win every single game," he said.

"My energy is just focused on what the team needs to do and that's what I am working on every day. This is our tool to make the team get wins. Just thinking about winning doesn't help. What helps is to pave the way to arrive at that."