Panaji, Feb 9: SC East Bengal rode goals from Matti Steinmann and Anthony Pilkington to beat Jamshedpur FC 2-1 in their second-leg Hero ISL encounter at the Fatorda Stadium on Sunday.
The victory was the product of a collective effort that saw each individual on the park perform his assigned task competently.
Featuring in that match were Sarthak Golui and Sourav Das, two of the club's January signings, who impressed one and all on their SCEB debuts. Both players have joined the red-and-gold brigade from Mumbai City FC.
While Sarthak is a promising defender blessed with pace and a sharp crossing ability, Sourav's induction can only bolster SCEB's central midfield.
A day after the red-and-gold brigade's third win this season, the duo shared their thoughts about the result, the team environment, their respective roles, and Head Coach Robbie Fowler's influence in a freewheeling chat with the club's official website.
Q: Both of you contributed to a win on your SCEB debuts. How is the feeling?
Sarthak: It's obviously a great feeling to get a win on debut. The team is going through a transition phase at the moment. We've been playing well, but unfortunately, some results haven't gone our way. I'm happy to have contributed to our win against Jamshedpur FC.
Sourav: It felt nice to get my first start this season on Sunday, and the win made the feeling nicer. I'll try my best to perform better in the upcoming matches.
Q: Can you shed some light on your roles in the team?
Sarthak: I was already familiar with the formation in which we played against Jamshedpur FC, since it was used by Phil Brown during my stint with FC Pune City. Hence, it wasn't difficult for me to adjust to the team's philosophy.
Sourav: I also didn't find any difficulty in adapting to the formation because when I was at the TATA Football Academy, my coach used to deploy me as a central defensive midfielder.
Q: What are your opinions about the team environment and the mood in the camp?
Sarthak: The camaraderie within the camp is great. Since most of my teammates here are Bengali, I didn't have any trouble blending into the team culture. I knew most of my seniors like Debjit Majumder, Shubham Sen, Md Rafique and Subrata Paul beforehand, and I've also developed a good rapport with the overseas players.
Sourav: We've been staying in bio-bubbles for some time now, and initially it was a bit difficult to acclimatize to the system. To be honest, we all miss the outside world, but we understand that the protocols are there to ensure our safety. Everyone here is very friendly, which has made the isolation a bit easier to bear.
Q: What are your thoughts about SCEB Head Coach Robbie Fowler?
Sarthak: I think we're very fortunate to be playing under a legend like Robbie Fowler. Everyone knows about his greatness, and as a human being, he is very down-to-earth. He may not have been present on the sidelines on Sunday, but he motivates us all the time. We played according to his plans and we're glad that we could execute them effectively.
Sourav: Despite being a Liverpool legend, he's very down-to-earth. It has been a great experience playing under him, and maybe one day, we can narrate this experience to our future generations. He speaks very nicely to each player and likes to keep things simple.
Q: Any message for the fans?
Sarthak: We all know how much the fans love the club. We didn't have the best of starts, but all of us are trying hard to usher in a revival. I would request all of you to keep supporting us and be patient. We'll surely reach our goals.
Sourav: I know that the fans have felt disappointed at times, but I would urge all of you to stay by our side, in both good and bad times. We'll deliver our cent percent effort to fetch positive results for the club.