Bambolim, January 10: Coming on the back of a morale-boosting 0-0 draw against Mumbai City FC, a rejuvenated SC East Bengal will face an uphill task when they take on Jamshedpur FC in a crucial Hero Indian Super League encounter at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on Tuesday.
Jamshedpur FC, who sit at the fourth position in the table, is just one point off the top place, having gathered 16 points from 10 matches. SC East Bengal has so far been winless this ISL season, accumulating 6 points from 10 matches.
The pressure seems to be on SCEB interim head coach Renedy Singh, who, after taking over from Jose Manuel Diaz, has strengthened the side’s defensive abilities. SCEB’s defensive play against Mumbai City FC has drawn praise from all quarters, but Renedy does not want to rest on past laurels and is looking to get the team back to winning ways.
“I’d like to thank the boys for supporting me. It’s really nice to see the team trying to emulate my philosophy in the field. I asked for commitment from the team when I came in, and they have delivered that in the last two matches. Now we badly need a win, and the boys are working really hard to come out of this situation,” Renedy said in the pre-match press conference.
The former East Bengal captain knows it won’t be an easy task, given the list of absentees and the quality of the opponents. "Jamshedpur FC is a fantastic side with an excellent mix of foreigners and Indian players, but our team had a couple of good matches where we defended really well. If we can do our job, Jamshedpur FC will have a hard time,” the SCEB coach said.
The former Neroca FC coach hinted at playing a foreigner-less team due to the injuries and the suspensions. “We have a lot of injured players so we have to field an all-Indian XI. We have limited options, but we have to get going, no point in providing excuses,” he said.
For Renedy, this stint is acting as a learning exercise, and the former national captain sounded confident about his team implementing his strategy in the field. “What I have learnt from the last two matches is that, if we work hard and work as a unit, nothing is impossible to achieve,” Renedy said.
The SCEB coach heaped praises on young Semboi Haokip and confirmed the availability of veteran attacker Balwant Singh. “I’m really happy with the workload Semboi Haokip has been taking on, and I want that to continue. I would like to give Balwant Singh some time and see how he does. He is coming back from an injury, we all know the capability he possesses and I’m sure he’ll give his all,” Renedy said.
Asked about his plans to stop Owen Coyle’s men, Renedy said they are concentrating on their strong points and trying to derive ways they can hurt Jamshedpur FC.