Both East Bengal FC and Hyderabad FC will be coming into the game on the back of 3-1 away wins.

After a gap of two weeks, East Bengal is set to return to the pitch on Friday against title holders Hyderabad FC. East Bengal will be upbeat after their win against Jamshedpur FC at Jamshedpur in their last outing. Hyderabad FC will also come into the game on the back of a win against Chenniyin FC at Chennai. Thus, both teams would like to continue their momentum on Friday and win the match. Currently, Hyderabad FC is in second place with 19 points from nine games. East Bengal is in eighth place with nine points from eight games. A win will prove to be significant for both sides as three points will move both of them toward the top of the table.

Two days before the game, before leaving for Hyderabad, East Bengal head coach Stephen Constantine and forward Semboi Haokip addressed a press conference in Kolkata. Edited excerpts from the conference are as follows.

On not being able to win a single home match so far despite winning three away games

Constantine admitted that East Bengal did not play up to the mark to secure points in any of their home games. He cited examples of games to explain his points. At the same time, he asserted that the team is in a better place than it was at the beginning of the season and would continue to progress in the upcoming days. He stated:

“We don’t want to make excuses. We want to win in home games. As per my understanding, we had a fantastic first half against Odisha. We should have made it 3-0. If VP (Suhair) scored the header, it was game over and we would have won. But, we didn’t. I am not going to sit here and say it is because of this or that, it is because we did not play well enough to secure the points. It is the same when we lost away. We lost against Kerala 3-1 in the last 15 minutes. Until then, it was 0-0. We are learning and we are trying to get better every week. It is going to be a long, tough season.”

The tactician added, “I think we have made some good steps. But, there will be days that would not be so good. This is because of all the other issues that we have had. Slowly, we are getting better each week. Our performances are better. Honestly, I hope we beat Hyderabad and we beat Mumbai City in the next two games.”

Updates on Kyriakou

Constantine provided updates on Kyriakou’s injuries. He stated, “The chances of Kyriakou playing in the game against Hyderabad is 50:50. He has a mask. Now it is about him being comfortable wearing the mask. There are still some aftereffects from the injury, but he is training because he is that type of player.”

On the team’s approach to tackling Hyderabad FC

Constantine informed the press people that he does have a strategy to tackle Hyderabad FC, but it all boils down to how the team is able to implement the strategies on the pitch in the game. He said, “We plan and prepare for all the teams. It is a question of us actually implementing these things on the field. We are looking forward to the game as we are ready. Hopefully, we can get a result.”

East Bengal’s short-term and long-term targets

Constantine talked about his short-term and long-term targets for the club. He stated:

“We have two games (before Christmas), and I will like to win both of those games. Then we will see where we are because if the other teams win, we will be in the same place. There are no easy games. We have two very tough games against two of the top teams in the league. They will be difficult games. We will take one game at a time. We will play Hyderabad and hopefully, we will get something from there. Then we will move on to the next game.”

The former Indian national team coach continued about the long-term targets of the club. He said, “About targets. I told you we will not finish in last place. That was my early target. Now, we want something more. When we get to something more, there will be something else. It is always going to be ‘never satisfied’. This has to be the attitude of me, the staff, and the players. We are here, now we want to get there. Then, when we get there, we want to get somewhere else. That’s how it should be in professional sports.”

Semboi Haokip on how the side is planning to face Hyderabad FC and his current form

Semboi expressed his opinion on Hyderabad FC. He said, “They are a good team. But we are also working our best to get results.”

The striker said that even though he is not able to score a lot, the more important thing for him is to win matches. He stated, “As a forward, I do want to score. But the most important thing is how we play as a team to get three points.”

For more updates, follow Khel Now on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and join our community on Telegram.