ISL- Indian Super League

Losers find excuses, winners find solutions: Carles Cuadrat

Sattyik SarkarSattyik Sarkar
August 5 2023
Carles Cuadrat East Bengal press conference ISL Durand Cup 2023

Carles Cuadrat wants to build an undefeatable team.

As he entered through the gates of Kolkata Centre for Creativity, the art gallery in the ground floor mesmerised him. His mind must have been full of images, where he is holding the ISL trophy along with his comrades at East Bengal. He must have imagined that this time next year, his and his team’s portrait will be embedded in this very gallery.

Well, Carles Cuadrat is currently a very happy man. Reason? He has the ecstatic opportunity to build a 104-year-old club from scratch. A club, whose supporters have forgotten what an accolade means, what it feels like to kiss a silverware. However, Cuadrat is ready for the challenge as he answers the media to his fullest and makes his intentions very clear – he is ‘here to create something’ and he ‘doesn’t sell dreams’.

Excerpts below:

The process

Rome was not built in a day and the same stands for East Bengal. Carles Cuadrat reminisced his Bengaluru FC days and explained how it took them a few years to establish the team. Moreover, he wants to change the dynamic of the club!

“Any football team needs a process to build something. I have been here in India. If you remember, in 2016, Bengaluru ended fourth in I-League. It’s a question of doing the basics. All of us are creating something. We are trying to change the dynamic of the club. We have been in the ISL for three years and are yet to achieve results. You look at the results of other coaches at other clubs. It took them 2-3 years to fight for the title. We are here starting a new process at East Bengal.”

Why did he come back to India?

In the winter of 2021, Carles Cuadrat and Bengaluru FC parted ways. A string of poor results played a part in the same. But why did he come back again? And that too at East Bengal? The Spaniard answered:

“I was watching ISL in 2016 when I arrived. The level of football has improved. In between, I had been two years in Europe and had offers from a few Indian teams. To take the decision, I had to see the project and if it aligned with my personal aim. From the first moment, I saw something going on. There was the support of a full city behind. And thus, the decision followed.”

Too much interruptions?

East Bengal might be preparing in a full-fledged manner for the Durand Cup and later the Indian Super League. But the Indian national team roster seems like a red flag to the preparations. A few of the players will have to be released in order to satisfy the national duties. Too much interruptions? Will it be a problem? Cuadrat replied with what seemed to be the highlight of his career!

“It’s going to be the same for all the clubs. I don’t like excuses. Losers find excuses, winners find solutions. We are trying to make the best calendar and get the players ready for the competition. We respect the decisions of the national team. I understand the situation.”

Biggest challenge of his career

A broken team – East Bengal. With bottom-placed finishes in the last three seasons and a handful of victories, taking up a job at the club is nothing short of a huge ‘financial’ risk, if we look at it from a business point of view. Carles Cuadrat claimed it to be the greatest challenge of his career.

“Yes, this is the biggest challenge as a coach. At Bengaluru, it was a start of a project and we built a champion team. The club played the ISL knockouts many times, won the Federation Cup, the Super Cup and the ISL among others. The project took 4-5 years to settle.

“Here in East Bengal, we are starting from a very low position (points table). We have great supporters. It’s not a question of one game or a month, it’s a question to build. We had wonderful players at Bengaluru but we finished fourth in I-League behind Aizawl, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. I’m not asking for time but work from my players. Our aim is to be a team which is difficult to beat and fight for the trophy.”

Additions into the squad

East Bengal might still need a few enforcements, and have around 26 days to fulfil the needs. The mentor will calculate things after the first game and take a decision in the upcoming games!

“We have a month left for the window to close. So, we have time to bring new players. Coaches never say no to new acquisitions. Tomorrow, after the first game, I’ll be able to see what improvements the team needs.”

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