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Souvik Banerjee/Khel Now

David Robertson defends 'excellent' Real Kashmir players, Kibu Vicuna focused on Durand Cup final

Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar

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Both tacticians had positive things to say about their respective players after the game.

Mohun Bagan progressed into their first Durand Cup final since 2004, after defeating Real Kashmir 3-1 in extra-time at the Salt Lake Stadium on Wednesday. Salva Chamorro’s thunderbolt gave the Mariners the lead in the first half, before a last-minute equalizer from Gnohere Krizo forced added-time. However, VP Suhair scored a brace to help the hosts move into the showpiece on Saturday.

David Robertson experienced his first loss at the Salt Lake Stadium, but wasn’t that disappointed by it. When asked about how difficult this loss is for him he stated, “Once again, I can’t fault anything with my team. Our legs went in extra-time, which is expected for it being pre-season. I came here expecting to play three games, but got one extra game which is good for fitness. But, you saw the fight tonight. My concern was whether the players still had the hunger. But, this game proved we have a team of winners. I think as we move forward the season, we’ll get better.”

“These players have a great attitude and are professional football players. It’s just another day for them. I was even thinking to myself before the equalizer, that I would be praising my team. They played with a heart and desire. I think that’s very important to have in a team. It’s a huge asset for the players to have the hunger and desire,” he added.

The Scottish tactician also gave his opinion on Mohun Bagan and had good words for them. He said, “They’ve obviously gotten a new coach and have gone the Spanish way like most of the clubs in India. Obviously, there are some good players in their team.”

Kibu Vicuna was pleased about going into the Durand Cup final. Asked how difficult it was to deal with a 93rd minute equalizer he said, “It was very hard. It was like we lost the match, but it was 1-1. However, I felt we played really well and were much better than the opponent. We played some good football and had created some very good chances. I feel even in extra-time, we were better and Suhair obviously scored some important goals to win it for us.”

The Mariners' super-substitutions, VP Suhair and Fran Gonzalez were the reason for winning them the game. When asked about their impact he added, “Football is not only about the 11 players who start in the lineup, but also the substitutes. We knew Real Kashmir are a very good team, especially physically, so we needed two players who are able physically also. Both of them gave some great performances with Gonzalez dominating in midfield and Suhair scoring the goals.”

Bagan’s fitness levels are still not at their peak. When asked about his concerns on this he explained, “We are going to get the peak physical condition by playing matches. I’m very happy that we were fitter than the opponent. I knew the physical battle was going to happen.”

The Spaniard was asked about whether the Salt Lake Stadium is more comfortable to play than their own ground the Spaniard said,  “Yes, this pitch is better and the condition of the ground is better than the Mohun Bagan Ground. I feel this pitch is perfect to play a possession, attacking game. The quality of the grass is terrific, but we knew that beforehand.”

When asked on how he’ll prepare for the final on Saturday he said, “We are going to prepare for the mach as best as possible. In football, everything is possible. The most important people in the football tournament are the players. So, we must take care of the players."



Published: Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:01 PM IST

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