In pursuit of their first win in the Indian Super League (ISL), Robbie Fowler's East Bengal are set to take on Chennaiyin FC on Saturday at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, Goa.
The Red and Golds are struggling in their maiden ISL season and have just two points from their first six matches. They came agonisingly close to registering their first win of the season in their last game against Kerala Blasters but Jeakson's last-gasp equaliser spoiled their party.
Coach Robbie Fowler, though, claimed that conceding last-minute goal against Kerala Blasters has not affected the players' mentality and he is hoping to get a positive result against Chennaiyin.
"The moral of the team is really good. At times we are unlucky and it is unfortunate that you concede a goal in the last minute but our lads worked really well. We had lots of chances and we could have won the game quite convincingly but football is like that. There are ups and downs and we have had plenty of downs at the moment but the morale of the lads is brilliant and hopefully, we will have a lot of ups starting the next game," said the East Bengal gaffer.
Goal had earlier revealed that the Red and Golds decided to release nine Indian players from their squad and will be sending them on loan for the remainder of the season.
Justifying the decision of sending players on loan midway into the season, the Liverpool great mentioned that the decision was taken in the best interests of the club and he would happy to see all the nine players shine in their loan stint and prove him wrong.ISL
"We are bringing in new names in the squad. We are always looking for players who are available and we feel can benefit the team. We are trying to bring in one or two players, obviously, I cannot say who. As for the lads who have gone out, we got opportunities to look over a five to six weeks period and we just felt that we are not going to play them as much.
"So it is not me being nasty and vindictive. It is what is best for the club. We are trying to get the best results for this club and we feel that some of the players who aren't playing they can elsewhere and get games. It is not nice and someone has to make the decisions and the decision is mine to make. My job is to try and get the very best of results I can, bring the best people in the club.
"Everyone has had an opportunity. People will say that he has not played this game but every day is an opportunity. Training sessions are a massive opportunity to show the rest of the staff how could he can become and I don't anyone can say that he hadn't had the opportunity. We feel that this particular group I have got now are maybe in a better place and that is not me being derogatory against the players.
"I have got a lot of time with all the players who were going on loan but now I told them that this is an opportunity to go and play games. It is an opportunity for you to go and prove me wrong. and that is all I can do."ISL
The former England international also cited an example from his own career to motivate those nine players who are leaving the club.
"I can speak from my own life. I had played for Liverpool for a number of years and obviously, I didn't want to leave but eventually I had to because I needed to play games and my ethos was to show the manager exactly what you are missing. It is up to those players to play in the ISL or I-League and prove that my decision has not been the right one for them. We wish them well and I want them all to prove me wrong and come back and say that you made a mistake there."
Fowler heaped praise on opposition manager Csaba Laszlo and suggested that he considers Chennaiyin as a very tough opponent to play against.
"Their (Chennaiyin) manager (Csaba Laszlo) is someone I look up to in terms what he has achieved in the game, He got a solid team, some excellent players. Our job is to stop their great players and that is difficult because good players shine. Also, consistency is something that Chennaiyin has. They have done this for lots of years now. Good solid team, good solid manager and it will be tough to break them down. But we have to go out there, believe in ourselves and give our best shot and we will try and get the three points," said the British coach.