East Bengal take on Gokulam Kerala FC in a crucial I-League 2018-19 encounter on Saturday at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata.
The Kolkata giants are under a lot of pressure after losing three back to back matches which includes two defeats on home soil. Thus they will be desperate to get back to winning ways against the Malabarians.
Speaking about the match on Saturday, East Bengal coach Alejandro Menendez said, “The team is training really well. We have analysed all the matches and reviewed our mistakes. We need to rectify them.
“We started well in the I-League by winning two difficult away matches. I am happy with the general performance of the side. Maybe we need to improve in some positions. But this is normal. This happens.”
On facing Gokulam Kerala, the Spanish coach said, “I always say that the next match is the most important match. I am trying to make the players train hard and get the maximum points from the upcoming matches.”
East Bengal’s latest foreign recruit Jaime Santos Colado arrived in Kolkata on Wednesday and trained with the side in the last couple of days.
On asked if Jaime will play on Saturday, the coach opined, “Jaime just arrived on Wednesday. He may play some minutes tomorrow (Saturday). But overall he is ready to play matches. No problem in that.”
Menendez also spoke on the team’s poor show in the last three matches. He said, “Sometimes it is difficult to know the exact reason for the defeats. This is a great ground and a stadium. Maybe some players are under pressure but they will overcome this I am sure.”
On Costa Rican defender Johnny Acosta’s poor form, the Spaniard suggested, “All great players have a bad patch. I will always defend my players. They are doing well. Johnny (Acosta) is playing well I think.”
Gokulam Kerala’s star player Antonio German left the club after playing the first six matches in the I-League. When Gokulam coach Bino George was asked of German’s departure would affect the club's game, he suggested, “We always respect East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. Kolkata is the Mecca of Indian football. I know East Bengal lost last three matches but for us, this is an away match so we have no pressure.
“The boys are ready to fight. They are very excited and they are all young players. There is no star in our team. It is a team game and I think we can play without (Antonio) German.”
George believes that his side will be put under pressure by the Red and Gold brigade. But he remained upbeat about his team's chances of registering a win on Saturday.
“I know the pressure of Kolkata. East Bengal will put us under pressure. They lost three matches but they are contenders for the league title. We have to fight in every match. We are concentrating on three points.”
George also stated that his forwards can find a way past Johnny Acosta. "The World Cupper (Johnny Acosta) is playing in all the matches for East Bengal. But we all saw what happened in the last few matches. So his presence is not a problem for my players.”