The Red and Gold will look to avenge their home defeat against a subdued Odisha FC.

East Bengal will be back on the field on 7th January 2023 to play their first ISL game of 2023. Having won their previous outing against Bengaluru FC, the Red and Gold Brigade will be looking to get their first consecutive win of the season. They will face Odisha FC, a side that have lost three of their last four games and drawn the remaining one. In the previous fixture between the two sides in Kolkata, Odisha FC made an incredible comeback to down East Bengal 4-2 after going down 2-0 at half-time. Two days prior to the game, East Bengal head coach Stephen Constantine and midfielder Mobashir Rahman attended the pre-match press conference to express their thoughts regarding the game.

On conceding goals in every game

East Bengal have been able to achieve only one clean-sheet this season against Bengaluru FC a few months back. Regarding this, Stephen Constantine said that he does not care much for clean-sheets if his side wins a game.

He said, “Honestly, if we win 2-1, I don’t care. But, if we lose 3-0, I definitely care. We do not concede goals deliberately. It is the nature of the game. I will be more concerned if we did not win four games. You cannot win 1-0, 2-0, or 3-0 every game.”

On rectifying mistakes

Often Stephen Constantine has attributed many of his side’s defeats to their own mistakes instead of good play from the opponents. He asserted that going forward, the target of his team would be to minimize such mistakes and get the best out of the remaining games.

He reflected, “I don’t want to go through all the issues that we have had this season. We have had 11 games and we learnt some very difficult lessons. We’ve made more mistakes than we should have done. We are not new anymore. 11 games in, we have played enough games together that we should be getting better. That is what we are trying to do. Every week, we are trying to be better and make fewer mistakes. Of course, the players are aware that we have lost games and have not been beaten (by opponents). That is very difficult to take knowing that you should have won or you could have taken some points. But, you did not because of individual mistakes. It is not a good thing to have.”

The tactician continued, “We have nine games in front of us. We have surpassed the win record for the club (compared to the club’s ISL performance in the last two editions). We’re trying to get into the top six. We are seven points away and have nine games, i.e. 27 points. We will try to get into the top six. That is why we play football, to win games.”

On how the side will approach the next two games against Odisha and Jamshedpur respectively

Stephen Constantine stated his approach to the game against Odisha FC. He heaped praise on Josep Gombau’s men and asserted that East Bengal is prepared to face the Kalinga Warriors. At the same time, the head coach informed that he is not thinking about Jamshedpur just now.

He stated, “We approach every game individually based on what the opposition does and does not do and we know what we are capable of and so does Odisha. It is a game against a strong and very organized team. We are preparing for that. We want to go down and take the three points that we gave them here.”

“I am not thinking about Jamshedpur now. I am thinking only about Odisha today. We will pick the best team that I think is capable of beating them (Odisha) and then they will go out and take care of the business. Then we will move ahead to the game against Jamshedpur. Maybe they are missing some players. Each game is completely different in how we approach them.”

Mobashir on not starting games for East Bengal

Mobashir Rahman informed the presser why he is not starting games for East Bengal more frequently. He talked about the overall quality of the squad and the tactical prowess of Constantine.

He revealed, “It is not a fitness issue. I got a start in the last match. Our coach has his own plan regarding which player fits in which role. In the last match, he thought that I should play and I played. In our team, we have multiple good players for each position. So, it is like a competition for us. He keeps on motivating us in training sessions such that we give our 100% in every training session so that we make it into the playing XI.”

Mobashir on his journey of recovering from illness

Mobashir suffered from an illness a few days ago. Now, he is training with the squad and looks much fitter than he used to be. At the presser, the midfielder shared his experience of recovering from the illness and how Constantine and his other teammates have helped him in this recovery journey.

He stated, “After recovering from illness, the coach has been helping me a lot. He has been constantly guiding me in my recovery. In every training session, we talk about my mistakes and how I can overcome such mistakes. Also, he has been guiding me to help my team in any way possible. All these training sessions helped me a lot to contribute to the team and start games.”

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