The assistant coach also stressed on building the right culture and foundation at the club for the future.
SC East Bengal scripted a 2-1 win against Jamshedpur FC to gain three important points and give themselves an outside chance of making it to the playoffs. Goals from Anthony Pilkington and Matti Steinmann were enough to see the Red and Gold hold on to get the three points, despite Peter Hartley’s late consolation. East Bengal assistant coach Tony Grant had more than one reason to be happy with his players’ performance on the day.
Managing his side in the absence of Robbie Fowler, Tony Grant made six changes to the team, including debuts for Sarthak Golui and Raju Gaikwad, who came in the January transfer window from Mumbai City FC and Kerala Blasters respectively.
The assistant coach praised the efforts of the two debutants. He replied, “I thought they were very good. They were very professional and now that they have got this shirt, they deserve it. But, their job now is to improve, we want them to go out and perform better next week.”
Speaking on the combination of his side for the game, Grant stated, “We had a two-week pre-season and we didn’t have any reserve games or friendly games. We had to give opportunities to the players week-by-week, so most of the players have been tried in the ISL.
“As a football coach, you always want to improve. The two players we brought in today, they played well. So, we just want to give everyone opportunities to succeed and fail.”
Robbie Fowler’s absence
The absence of Robbie Fowler must’ve been a big miss for East Bengal, but Grant reiterated the job on hand for the staff and players, saying “We are all professionals and we all want to win a football match. Sometimes, you win and sometimes you don’t. It’s not so easy to win a football match as well.
“You miss chances and sometimes a penalty is not given as a penalty. But, we always try and play to win the game. Yes, his absence has been tough. We are a close group and we feel hard done by. But, he has always been with the team and has been helping a lot.”
Speaking of the tactics that brought them success in the game, Toni Grant opined, “It is the personnel that determine it. We’ve tried to have a certain formation, but sometimes it doesn’t help the players.
“For us, as the staff, we’ve had to change every week. So, going back to this formation helped us with Golui and Raju, as we could get a foreign player up the pitch.”
Race for playoffs
East Bengal still have a mountain to climb to make it to the playoffs and Tony Grant acknowledged the challenge that lies in front of his boys. Speaking on continuing the winning momentum, he asserted, “It’s tough. We played Bengaluru last week, we beat them once here. They played a very simple game, they played the ball long and were good in retrieving it. We had a hell of a lot of the ball, but we couldn’t break them down
“But, that happens in football. We will try and win these four games. We’ll try to improve the players and try to get the results, but the former is more important. While this season is important for us, the future is more important, ” said Grant before signing off.