The East Bengal head coach also spoke about new signing Jake Jervis’ performance.

East Bengal played some wonderful football at the Salt Lake Stadium to down Kerala Blasters by a solitary goal from Cleiton Silva. The addition of Jake Jervis to the playing XI made a big impact on the team’s performance. Stephen Constantine’s side looked quite balanced and consequently got their second clean sheet of the season.

After the game, East Bengal head coach Stephen Constantine and forward Cleiton Silva attended the post-match press conference. Excerpts from the presser are as follows.

On the performance

Constantine shared his thoughts on the team’s performance. He asserted that the performance was more like a team coached by him.

“In all of this time (the last few months), the players have worked extremely hard. In every game, they gave everything they had. We have been unlucky in Kerala the first time. There are six to seven games from which we should have taken points. And we didn’t. Today, they fought from the first to the last. We were compact. Tackles were being made. People were helping each other. I thought it was a very gutsy performance. It was aggressive. That is what my teams look like. We look forward to the end of the season. We would make some changes. Then we will see next year. We will be targeting the top six next year.”

The head coach added, “We have suffered this season. Partly, because of ourselves. And today, when you see the performance, (it was good). We beat Bengaluru twice, home and away. We beat these guys, they are in the top six. We’re capable. But we just need time. We will get where we need to be.”

Coach’s evaluation of Jake Jervis

This was the first time East Bengal played with two foreign strikers. Regarding this, Constantine talked about his thoughts on Jake’s individual performance and the impact he made on the team.

“We play with two players upfront. As good as Cleiton is, he is not going to get too much out of playing against two defenders most of the time. Jake will attract one of them. And I can bet on Cleiton against any defender one-on-one in this league. Just him being there (made a big difference). Jake will not tell you that he had his best game. But he gave everything as everybody else did. And he made an impact.”

On not making any silly mistake

East Bengal did not make any silly mistakes and put up an intense fight throughout the game. This was reiterated by Stephen Constantine at the presser. The 61-year-old asserted that East Bengal was fantastic today. He said, “I have always said that we have cost ourselves games through silly mistakes by our own players. We have been talking about this since the beginning. Today, we were more focused.

He added, “I think the intensity level was superb from the beginning today. No player wants to make a mistake, no coach wants to make a mistake. It is what you do after a mistake that defines you. Today, I think it was fantastic from the boys. We won today, got three points, and look forward to the next game.”

Update on Ankit Mukherjee

Constantine provided updates on the reason behind Ankit’s early substitute. He also said that the management will retaliate against his unprofessional attitude of throwing his shirt into the floor.

“He had a hamstring issue. You could see that after two minutes. He insisted he was okay. Three massive mistakes later. Could have cost us a goal. I am pretty sure that the club is going to take action for throwing his shirt into the floor. It is the second time he has done that. So, I don’t know if he has a future in East Bengal anymore.”

Message to supporters

Stephen Constantine urged supporters to keep on supporting the team as East Bengal plays football for the supporters. He said, “The supporters need to support us. We need them. Without supporters, we don’t have anything. We go into the pitch every day and give everything that we have. Today, everything came well for us. We got a bit of luck. We could have scored three more goals. And we are talking about playing against a top-three team.”

Cleiton on Jake Jervis

Cleiton heaped a lot of praise on his new striking partner Jake Jervis. He said, “I think he will be a good asset for us because he is tall and fast and has good control over the ball. He is a guy on whom I can lay on. When I have the ball, I can look forward and see him. I had Suhair, now I have him as well. Now we have Jake to receive the ball inside the opponent’s box. I think he would be a very good help.”

The forward further said, “All the players, when they see Jake up front, they realise they have one more option. It is good to play with a player like this. He is very intelligent. He knows how to play the game. I am happy that we got three points. I am happy for everybody. Everybody played so well today. Sarthak (Golui) and (Mohamad) Rakip played an amazing game. This is our team. This is how we play. We play fighting game. If you don’t fight, you don’t get points.”

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