Updated: Dec 5, 2020
Panaji, Dec 4: SC East Bengal Head Coach Robbie Fowler feels that a little more consistency from his players will be the key to their turnaround in the ongoing Hero Indian Super League. ‘Everything is driven by results in this country. We know that results are important, but we haven’t played badly, despite not having the best of starts. For example, in our second game against Mumbai City FC, we had a great chance of going 1-0 up. We need to be more consistent and our concentration levels need to be high in terms of capitalizing on the chances,’ Fowler said at the virtual Press conference on Friday, a day before SCEB’s clash against NorthEast United FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco.
Having lost their first two encounters 0-2 and 0-3 against ATK Mohun Bagan FC and Mumbai City FC respectively, SCEB will look to register their first point and the first goal in the competition on Saturday. Even though the scoresheet may suggest a comprehensive win for ATKMB FC in the Kolkata derby, it isn’t a true reflection of SCEB’s performance in that contest. The Red-and-Golds created a plethora of chances in both halves and dominated possession throughout the game, besides maintaining a pass accuracy of 77 percent. In the second game against MCFC played at Bambolim on Tuesday, the team suffered an early setback as their skipper and defensive mainstay Danny Fox was forced to walk off the pitch in the 7th minute owing to an injury. On being asked how his backline would fare in Fox’s absence, Fowler replied, ‘We know that Danny is a tremendous player, who has come here with a great record. That said, somebody will have to step up to fill in the void. We have a balanced squad and unless you give people chances, you cannot be sure as to what they have got. Obviously, it’s not ideal to lose your captain who is one of your better players, but you’ve got to accept it and move forward.’
The Highlanders, on the other hand, are currently placed third on the points table, having won their first game by a solitary goal against Mumbai City FC and followed it with draws against Kerala Blasters FC (2-2) and FC Goa (1-1). What is Fowler’s assessment of this NEUFC side? ‘They have a young manager with an organised defense and a solid attacking force at their disposal. Look, it’s going to be a tough challenge for us, but that’s the case with every game,’ the Liverpool and England legend said. NEUFC have also managed to earn a penalty from each of their three games so far. According to the SCEB Head Coach, a better understanding of the game among the players could help them avoid conceding penalties. ‘The refereeing standards can be a bit better, but it is what it is. That’s why you need players to understand the game better so that they can be sensible in terms of going for the final tackle and containing opposition forwards. It’s not just about NorthEast but any team can win penalties. You need to be clever in your approach when it comes to defending inside your box.’
Fowler also feels that his comment on his side’s Indian contingent at the end of the previous game has been used out of context. ‘I obviously didn’t mean to disrespect anyone. There are lots of good Indian players around, but their understanding of the game can always be better. We have a certain philosophy and we’re trying to get all our players accustomed to it. My comment has been used out of context on social media. This is a huge club and when you put that red-and-gold shirt on, you take on a massive responsibility. This is applicable for all our players, regardless of whether they are Indians or foreigners. We’re very happy with the squad and the players will get better with time. We have each other’s back,’ Fowler said, with a smile on his face.