Bambolim, January 18: Ahead of his first Hero Indian Super League game in charge of SC East Bengal, Mario Rivera looks calm and composed. The Spaniard’s immediate challenge will be to guide SCEB to its first victory of the season when the Red-&-Gold brigade take on FC Goa at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim.
FC Goa has not had the best ISL season themselves, languishing at the 8th spot in the ISL table with 13 points in 11 matches.
Talking to the media ahead of the match, Rivera sounded confident yet cautious. “My first goal is to change the mood of the team. When you join a team in the middle of the season, it means the team has not been doing well. I will try to recuperate the mental situation of the players. The team is in a much better situation than before; now, my challenge is to get the best out of the players,” he said.
Rivera, who came to East Bengal as an assistant coach to Alejandro Menendez during the 2018-2019 season and later took over the reins, is very clear on the type of football he expects from his team. “I love total football, I love to attack, and we will try to improve ourselves on the attacking front. The players gave their all in the last few matches, but in football, the balance has to be there in defence and offence. In order to win a match, you have to be better than the opponent in all aspects,” he said.
When asked about the challenges of taking over a team mid-season, Rivera acknowledged that it is demanding. “I didn’t have much time to get to know the players. It becomes difficult to implement the changes in such a short period, but we will put our best foot forward,” Rivera said.
Rivera also revealed that he spoke to interim coach Renedy Singh every day during his quarantine period. “We talked about the team a lot,” he said.
The Spaniard ruled out the chances of new Brazilian forward Marcelo Ribeiro dos Santos playing in the next match. “Marcelo is not available as he is not yet ready to start,” Rivera said.