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Sanjoy Sen wants I-League title, Jamil seeks discipline from players

Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar

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Both managers emphasized that while they are aware of the significance of the match its business as usual in terms of preparation.

The biggest match in Indian Football is just a day away from taking place, as Mohun Bagan host East Bengal in the I-League at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday. After a wobbly start to the season for both clubs, this extremely important fixture is a matter of pride and points. It's been a surprise for many in how the Kolkata Derby has been scheduled this early in the season, but a definitive result could help shape up the title race in the early stages.

East Bengal coach Khalid Jamil and Mohun Bagan manager Sanjoy Sen spoke to the media earlier today at the pre-match press conference and both had a lot to say ahead of this mammoth fixture.

Jamil was the first one to speak to the press and was asked how he considers this Kolkata Derby in the I-League as compared to the one which took place in the Calcutta Football League a few months back. "I'm preparing for it how I prepare for all the matches. It's nothing special, but it's a vital match for us," he said

He was then asked whether East Bengal's side having more experience over Mohun Bagan can give his team an edge to which he replied, "Both the teams have a lot of experience. They also have quality players. Their coach is also very good and experienced. They have a good mix of foreigners and Indian players and also have a good amount of experience."

He was asked whether he's affected by the fact that a vital match like this has been placed so early in the I-League and said he was unflustered by the timing of the fixture. Reflecting on the 2-2 draw against Minerva Punjab the gaffer said, "We played well in the last match. We scored two goals in the second half and then conceded. But this match is different. If we score an early goal, we have to be different and defend much better."

Asked whether he'll be content with a draw the former India international said he plays for the three points in every match. "Every match we play, we go for all three points. It's not only against Mohun Bagan, but against all oppositions." 

He continued, "The key factor is you have to control yourself. It's a big match so you have to control yourself. You have to be patient and be in control physically and mentally as well. We cannot take it easy at all."

He ended his interaction with a message for the supporters, saying: "We are going to work hard to get a positive result tomorrow," he assured.


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Next, it was the turn off Mohun Bagan manager Sanjoy Sen speak to the media. Sen has a good record in the Kolkata Derby, having not lost any game at the Salt Lake Stadium against the rivals.

He was asked how much his record motivated him and whether he's under pressure and concerned about the match to which he replied, "I don't like to think about earlier results. The game is crucial for both teams because the league is won on points. None of the two teams want to lose points. We couldn't start the season as well as we wanted, but that can be excused. I've told the boys that if they keep this up they'll suffer in the long run."

He also took the opportunity to inform that both Yuta Kinowaki and Azharuddin Mallick face late fitness tests ahead of tomorrow's game.

Sen was asked about his stance for tomorrow and whether the Mariners will play aggressively or be content with a draw. "We will surely be going for a win because if we cannot win, a draw is also good. Because this is a league, and one point is also crucial and due to one point we have failed to win the I-League in the past two years."

East Bengal have a solid team this season and Sen was asked who was the key for them in this game. He answered, "I think the whole team are to be given importance. You have to respect them because there are very good players in different positions."

He was then asked whether his team are the underdogs for the match, to which he replied: "No we are never underdogs. East Bengal have a really good team, but that doesn't mean we are underdogs!"

The Mariners have added seven more players to their squad after the CFL and will play in front of a 66,000 crowd at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday. Sen was asked whether this was a disadvantage for them.

"I don't think so. The players will answer all of this tomorrow. Today or tomorrow, you have to adapt yourself to play in front of such a big crowd. So, those who played the CFL and haven't played East Bengal, it doesn't matter. You have to adapt yourself to perform eventually."

Sen was then asked about how he felt about Eduardo Ferreira and Katsumi Yusa joining rivals East Bengal and how he plans on stopping the Japanese and said, "I wish them all the best for tomorrow. We have no particular plans to stop only Katsumi, but all the players of East Bengal."

Published: Sat Dec 02, 2017 08:55 PM IST

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