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East Bengal’s Alejandro Menendez - Past records cannot predict the outcome of a derby

16:23 EAT 18/01/2020
Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal
The Spanish coach suggested that he has full faith in his players to turn things around at the club…

East Bengal are under a lot of pressure before their biggest match of the I-League this season as they lock horns against arch-rivals Mohun Bagan on Saturday.

After two consecutive defeats against Churchill Brothers and Gokulam Kerala, the Red and Golds are in a must-win situation if they don’t want to further slip away from the title race.

Spanish coach Alejandro Menendez, though, suggested that wins and losses are part of the game and they are not under any pressure ahead of the big match.

“All sports have wins and losses. The defeats are just a motivation to win the next match. I have full confidence in my squad. In this kind of games, the past does not matter. It happens around the world. Past records cannot predict the outcome of a derby. We have some problems like Borja Gomez’s unavailability but irrespective of that, we are fighting. I trust my players.”

Even after six matches in the I-League the Red and Golds look unsettled and are yet to find their rhythm but Menendez is looking at the broader picture ahead of the match.

“15 days ago we were top of the table. It was almost one year without losing a game in the I-League. I think judging based on two games is a short-sighted perspective. You have to have a bigger picture. We lacked (quality) in certain situations. We made some mistakes at some moments but that happens.”

Among the top six teams, East Bengal have scored the least number of goals (9) this season so far but Menendez did not seem to be perturbed by that stat.

“We are creating numerous chances but then as I said sometimes it gets converted sometimes it doesn't. We scored goals which were not given. Overall we scored a good number of goals, of course, we score more and do better because we are creating.”

The two rivals have already faced each other once this season in the Calcutta Football League (CFL) but the match was a drab goalless draw.

Speaking about the difference between that match and Sunday’s clash, the Spaniard said, “It is a very different derby. We were in the preseason in CFL. Both teams were growing and preparing. Now the teams are more settled. We are facing a game in the most important competition. A win in this match will help you to be in a better position in the league.”

East Bengal have conceded goals in each and every game this season. Acknowledging the issue, Menendez said that they need to solidify their backline especially against an attacking team like Mohun Bagan.

“It is not a major concern but Mohun Bagan are a more attacking side so we have to focus on defending against them.”