The East Bengal head coach also admitted that his team his dependent on Cleiton Silva.

East Bengal are to take on FC Goa in their upcoming ISL 2022-23 fixture on Thursday at the Fatorda Stadium. The side is currently on a three-match losing streak. Stephen Constantine’s side, thus, will be looking to get back to winning ways on Thursday against a resurgent FC Goa. Even though East Bengal’s chance of finishing among the top six is virtually over, they will play for pride. They will love to fetch three points from the Gaurs and provide some relief to their passionate fans.

A day prior to the game, East Bengal head coach Stephen Constantine attended the pre-match press conference. Edited excerpts from the conference are as follows:

On the mentality shown by the team against Hyderabad FC

Stephen Constantine heaped praise over the aggressiveness shown by his side after conceding the first goal against Hyderabad FC. He rued a lack of a similar mindset from his team in many other games.

“I think the aggressiveness in the last game was something that we were missing for some time. Anybody who knows me knows my kind of team and how we play. We have not done what we should be doing. We did last week against a team that is in second place but not consistently. I think that is something that has been missing from the games where we had not been aggressive enough. As I said last week, that was evident and we need to bring it to the stadium tomorrow.”

On the ongoing registration ban

The tactician talked about the ongoing ban that is imposed upon East Bengal and preventing the side from using the ongoing transfer window to bolster their squad.

He said, “I can’t tell you in words how frustrating it is. This is because we were looking for the January window in which we wanted to target three or four guys who we had in our minds. One week into the transfer and you can’t sign anybody. Hopefully, people will understand that I can’t sign anybody and it is not up to me; I don’t control that. But we just have to get on with it. If I could control it, I would have revoked the ban and signed the players whom I wanted.”

On keeping the team motivated

Constantine gave several reasons for the players of his side to stay motivated for the upcoming games. He asserted that each of the players’ individual goals of playing in the ISL in the next season is the biggest motivating factor for them.

“I was born motivated. I wake up every day and get paid for teaching people how to play football. The players are also highly motivated. There are a few reasons. One, if a player wants to stay, he will have to show me something real quick. If he does not want to stay, he will have to show somebody else that he is good enough to go there. Or he is not going to play in the ISL next season. So, I think the motivation for the players is very clear. If they are motivated to play in that way, I don’t know what to tell. For me, there are absolutely zero issues regarding motivation.”

On Ivan Gonzalez’s performance this season

The signing of Ivan Gonzalez created a huge uproar among East Bengal fans at the beginning of the season. Many believed that his entry into East Bengal’s squad would bolster their defence. However, to date, Ivan has had a decent season so far. On this, the coach said the following.

“Coming to East Bengal for Ivan has been difficult in terms of fans, different states, different cities, and even different cultures. He has done well. I opine that he has done well in most games. Has he been without mistakes? No. None of us is without mistakes. That’s how we learn, from mistakes. The question is, not repeating the same mistake. So, I think he has done okay. If he plays, I am sure he is going to do his best.”

Are East Bengal dependent on Cleiton Silva?

Cleiton Silva is one of the highest goal-scorers in this season with nine goals so far. East Bengal heavily depend on him for goals and any form of attacking threat. On being asked about this, Stephen Constantine admitted that his team is indeed dependent on the Brazilian.

“We pay him to score goals. Are we dependent on him? Yes. That is why we are trying to sign somebody who can help him. He is a complete professional on and off the pitch. At 35, if he can carry on like this, he will play till he is 40. I hope he plays for us. So, we do depend on him too much. We know that. But, he is still scoring goals and is the joint top-scorer with nine (goals). He could have gone to 10 or 11 in the last game and we would have got three points. But, he did not have his best outing in the last game.”

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