Vasco, December 2: In search of their maiden win of this season’s Hero Indian Super League, a determined SC East Bengal take on Chennaiyan FC in a crucial fixture at the Tilak Maidan Stadium here.
While Chennaiyan FC will be looking to pick up their third successive win, which will take them to the top of the ISL table, SC East Bengal’s sole focus will be on building momentum by winning the three points up for grabs.
SCEB coach Jose Manuel Diaz says he is aware of the areas in which the team needs to improve. “We have to defend the dead ball situations well. With respect to the last match, I’d tell my defence to improve their mental focus and pay more attention during set-pieces,” he said in the pre-match press conference.
Diaz is happy with his team finding the back of the net four times in the last match. “The fact that we have started scoring goals is a big positive. It is an indication of the fact that the attacking line-up has started clicking together. But in football, it is a matter of balance. If the opponent scores more goals than us, that means the whole team’s defensive organisation is not very strong,” he said.
The SCEB boss knows the threat Chennaiyan FC can pose. “Chennaiyan FC is a good team, who are doing the right things on the field at the moment and getting positive results,” he said, adding that SCEB will need to focus on rectifying their mistakes and playing confidently.
The Spaniard also provided updates on injured skipper Arindam Bhattacharya and Jackichand Singh. “Arindam and Jacki are working with the medical staff right now. We don’t have an exact date of their return, but we are hopeful of getting their services soon.”
When asked about the chances of SCEB defender Adil Khan starting against Chennaiyan FC, Diaz remained tight-lipped, saying, “He is in the squad and is training well. He will get his chances.”
A tightly packed schedule for this season has SC East Bengal playing their third match within the span of seven days. When asked about it, the SCEB boss put the onus on the coaching staff. “The fixtures are what they are. It is up to the technical staff and head coach to rotate the players properly, see to it that they get the right amount of minutes on the field, and rest off it, to avoid injuries in the squad.”
The last two matches between SC East Bengal and Chennaiyan FC finished in a draw, but this season the two teams have started at different ends of the league table. It remains to be seen whether SC East Bengal can use this match to begin telling their turnaround story.