The head coach spoke to the media ahead of their match against Chennaiyin FC.

After a draw and two defeats, SC East Bengal need to show some intent and get things running for them. It won’t be easy to break down a team like Chennaiyin FC, who have only conceded once in their first two matches. Coach Manuel Diaz spoke to the media ahead of the game:

Improving on set-pieces

There are a number of problems ailing the SC East Bengal side and coach Diaz pointed to one such issue. “After we concede the first goal, we tend to give up.

“Last match, we scored first, but then conceded thrice in 10 minutes. We need to improve our attention in the set-pieces,” urged the SCEB head coach.

Scoring goals a positive sign

While SC East Bengal are winless and have picked only one point from a possible nine, they have scored five goals in their first three matches, fourth highest in the league. In the last match itself, they scored four, which was a sign of improvement. Manuel Diaz agreed to this and added, “Yes, scoring goals is a positive.

“It means that the team is attacking in the right way. But, football is all about balance. If the opposition scores then that means the team’s defence is not good.”

Assessing Chennaiyin FC

The Marina Machans will be looking for their third straight win against Diaz’s men. The Spaniard will have to analyse the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses before going in to the next match. “They are a very good team and are winning. We need to improve our mistakes and believe in ourselves to get our first win of the campaign,” said Diaz.

Update on injuries

SC East Bengal captain Arindam Bhattacharya has been out ever since he came off against rivals ATK Mohun Bagan. He was unavailable for their defeat against Odisha FC as well. “He is recovering with the technical and medical staff. We don’t know exactly when he will come back,” the coach updated.

Jackichand Singh and Sourav Das are also unavailable for tomorrow’s match. Jacki, Diaz dais is out with an injury. “When he comes back, he will be ready for us. Das is training and will be ready in a few days’ time,” added the coach.

On playing Adil Khan

Centre-backs Tomislav Mrcela and Raju Gaikwad have come under scrutiny after their poor performances. One defender that can step into their places is Adil Khan. “So far, he has impressed me whenever he’s come on the pitch,” reassured Diaz.

When asked whether he will get his first start tomorrow, Diaz said, “Adil is in the squad. He had some injuries during the pre-season, but is getting better. He will get his chances.”

Keeping players fresh for matches

The Kolkata outfit played their first three matches in the span of nine days. It can become quite tiresome for the players to be match-ready in such a tight schedule. “The fixture list is what it is. The coaching staff needs to give the players their minutes without getting them injured,” concluded Diaz.

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