Updated: Dec 4, 2020
Panaji, Dec 2: A day after SC East Bengal lost their second Hero Indian Super League fixture 0-3 to Mumbai City FC at the GMC Stadium, Bambolim, Assistant Coach Tony Grant spoke to the club’s official website about the status of the injured players, his assessment of the team’s performance so far and what fans can expect from the upcoming fixtures.
Q: The results didn’t go in our favour in the last two games. We’ve had a few injury concerns. Could you throw some light on them?
We have got a few injuries at the moment. Loken Meitei, who played so well in the first game against ATK-Mohun Bagan, has sustained some sort of a tear. He had been training well, so the boy is really upset. We’re not sure as to how long he will be out of action. But he has been hitting the gym every day and will give himself the best chance to come back as early as possible.
Aaron [Amadi-Holloway] twisted his ankle during pre-season training. It can happen to anyone and it has happened to him. It was probably because of the pitch. He should be back shortly.
The last one is Danny, who got injured last night. We are not sure about his injury status. Hopefully, we’ll be able to find out in the next two days about the extent of the injury.
Q: Is it too early to comment on whether Danny will be available for the next game on Saturday or not?
Yes, it’s too early to say anything. His leg is a bit sore now, but he is due to go for a scan. We don’t have the exact information right now.
Q: Can the same be said about Aaron?
Yeah, [you can say] the same for Aaron. Hopefully, he’ll be back sooner rather than later.
Q: What has been your assessment of the team so far?
We’re very happy with the team. We’ve been training together for such a short time, and when I say that I mean that it is unprecedented, living inside a bubble. Getting just over two-and-a-half weeks, including game time, isn’t enough to assess everyone. There are teams that have been preparing for weeks ahead of us. But within a short time, we’ve shown how we want to play football and what our ideas are. Everyone has bought into it and they are training accordingly. We’ve been beaten by two of the better teams in the competition, but we had our share of chances to go ahead in both games. There was not too much of difference between the teams, so we are quietly happy. The boys, especially the foreigners, will get fitter as the tournament goes along. Having two games in the first five days doesn’t help either. We’ve seen that with players from other clubs as well, who have suffered injuries. I think in this kind of environment, with so many ninety-minute games being played, there are going to be some injuries.
Q: The games are coming thick and fast now. We play NorthEast United FC next, on Saturday. What can the fans expect?
We’ve eighteen more games to go. We’ve been on the pitch for two weeks and as I said, the boys have played only two games together since they met each other. We’re trying to play football, we’re not trying to get eleven bodies behind the ball and play defensively. I think people have seen how we want to play. It’s a certain way of playing that’ll get better with time. It helps when players get fitter. We’ve got two big games coming up. Let’s focus on them. We’ll try to play the same way and hopefully, chances will be created.
Q: Finally, is there something that you want to say to the fans?
We’ve been involved with big teams in the past and we understand that SC East Bengal is a huge club too. We understand the expectations. As support staff, all we can do is show faith in our players, keep them happy and make them work hard. I am sure that our results will improve and the fans will eventually be happy. It’s just the start of a journey.