The Red and Gold Brigade play their sixth game of the season against the Yellow Army.

Spaniard Manolo Diaz answered questions from the media before their match with Kerala Blasters on Sunday. After a closely-contested loss against FC Goa, SC East Bengal would want to pick themselves up and perform well.

Chances are running out for the Red and Gold if they want to have a decent campaign in Indian Super League 2021-22 season. Let’s hear what the coach had to say ahead of the upcoming fixture:

Realistic expectations from season

After a dismal season in the 2020-21 campaign, things would naturally take time to go back on track. There weren’t many expectations from the club, but their start to the current season has been quite underwhelming. They are yet to win a match and time is running out if they want a good season.

Watch: SC East Bengal vs Kerala Blasters | Manolo Diaz pre-match conference

“We have played five matches so far and the reality is what it is. We have conceded a lot of goals. In some games, we have had chances to win the match, but for now, our main focus is winning the three points,” Diaz commented when asked about this season’s expectations.

Updates on Arindam Bhattacharya, Jackichand Singh, Darren Sidoel

“He is not going to play as he is injured. We need to go step-by-step,” the coach answered when asked about Arindam Bhattacharya’s availability.

Midfielder Jackichand Singh is another notable absentee in the squad who has been out injured. “Jacki is improving, but he is yet to practice with the rest of the team,” Manolo Diaz updated the media on the midfielder’s situation.

Dutch player Darren Sidoel was announced injured in the last match’s post-match press conference. “His situation is similar to that of Arindam’s. He has a hamstring injury and we must take caution in handling that,” added Diaz.

Apart from the aforementioned names, there are no fresh injury concerns for SCEB’s camp.

Assessing Kerala Blasters

The Yellow Army recently had their first win of the season. Their 2-1 win against a strong Odisha FC side surely must have given Ivan Vukomanovic’s men a huge boost in confidence. “Kerala Blasters have a compact team, have hard-working players and it will be difficult to beat them. It will be a complicated match,” cautioned Diaz.

Mood in camp

The feel around the dressing room must be quite depressing after failing to win a single match in their opening few outings. The coach, however, finds a silver-lining in this.

“When we don’t win our mood is not the best. However, the players have done good things in these matches and we have stayed in the game for a lot of minutes,” said Manolo Diaz.

Message for fans

This winless period has been the most frustrating for the fans and supporters. “We understand their feelings with respect to the club. We are in a difficult situation, but we are thirsty and want to keep growing and improve our level,” concluded Diaz.

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