The Spanish tactician was speaking after the Red and Gold’s comfortable top flight success against Gokulam Kerala.
East Bengal finally got back to winning ways, as they thumped Gokulam Kerala 3-1 in their I-league match on Saturday at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata. The Red and Gold Brigaders got off to an electric start, scoring twice in the first 15 minutes thanks to Brandon Vanlalremdika and Joby Justin. After Gokulam pegged one back in the 2nd half through Christian Sabah and gave some tensions to the hosts, Bengal wrapped up the game with a goal from Lalram Chullova.
Bino George spoke about the outcome, “It’s a 50-50 game for us. We played well in the 2nd half but we conceded two goals in the first half. We weren’t awarded a sure penalty in the game. Also, a red card wasn’t given for East Bengal.”
When questioned to give his opinion on whom is going into the Kolkata derby with an advantage, George said, “I think Mohun Bagan is still better than East Bengal heading into the Kolkata derby. East Bengal’s midfield is still pretty weak compared to Mohun Bagan and our Kerala boys couldn’t really test them that well.”
George spoke about German’s replacement and said, “The boy I put in the centre, Sabah, scored the goal. He normally plays as a winger. We need a replacement for German in a proper striker.”
When asked about the questionable defending, George said, “There was some confusion between our defenders. It was a difficult away match today and hope we do better at home from now on.”
Alejandro Menendez gave some worrying news on Enrique Esqueda, revealing that he suffered an injury during the game and was substituted as a result. However, he feels the result was positive for them and said,“Of course this is a good confidence booster for us. The team was confident but is now more confident. It’s better for us to work next week with this and prepare to win the derby.”
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When questioned on whether he felt Lady Luck helped them the Spaniard said, “The team played very well in the first half. We created many chances. In the second half, the team’s momentum went a bit down. We created 3-4 chances more towards the end. It’s just his(Bino) opinion that we won the game due to luck.”
Menendez spoke on his decision to bench Jonny Acosta and whether he feels Salam Ranjan help stabilize his defence and said, “All the players of my squad can play. For today, I chose these XI players. Maybe for the next day, we’ll choose someone else. We always choose the best players to try and win the match.”
About Indian players impacting before the Kolkata Derby he said, “All of the players is the same for me. I don’t mind the nationality. But if the players are improving, it’s good news for us.”
“It was my dream to score in the Salt Lake Stadium. It is one of my dream stadiums. I’m very happy to be able to score here.” Joby Justin on scoring his first home goal of the season.
When asked about lack of transition from playing well in the first half to faltering in the 2nd half, Menendez explained, “I don’t’ agree with that. In the 2nd half, the idea was to try to counter-attack more. If we got a little defensive, we could counter-attack well. In the first 15 minutes we couldn’t do that, but afterwards, we counter-attacked pretty well and had many 3 vs 1, 2 vs 1 chances. That was our idea.”
Menendez further explained whether he feels his team undoes much of its good work in the 2nd half of games. He said, “Now the thing is that we need to focus on improving. Sometimes, we make some step backs. We try to advance, but sometimes in the match, we have bad moments and we’re trying to improve upon that.”
Finally, When asked about whether a meeting with the officials upstairs motivated him to up East Bengal’s game or was he already pumped for the game, Menendez said, “After these three matches, our target was to keep calm and to continue working. We tried to continue improving and the players went alive in the match. The players proved their ability and tried to enforce these things.”