The Bagan boss praised his team after their fourth win in a row...

Mohun Bagan came from behind to seal a 2-1 win against I-League newbies Chennai City at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Saturday evening. The away victory helped them leapfrog defending champions Bengaluru as they now sit atop the table.

The Mariners manager Sanjoy Sen lauded his players’ grit post match as he heaped praise on them for turning the game around in the final half-hour. He also acknowledged the fact that Chennai looked more dangerous than everyone expected them to be.

“I told yesterday that it would be a tough match,” reminded the Kolkata-born manager. “I guessed it would not be easy, but it would have been easy if Sony [Norde] had scored from the penalty spot. Despite going one goal down with only 30 minutes left, the boys showed character, kept cool and ultimately, won the match. They showed great character. The boys did well. Credits go to the boys.”

Despite being a lethal force going forward, the four-time Indian league champions struggled whilst taking and defending set pieces. Their manager identified the hectic schedule for their inability to work on their weakness although he promised to polish their game during training sessions. He said, “We have to improve a lot. We’ve just started. We’ve played only four matches. In between the matches, we didn’t get much time. We have to again travel tomorrow to Pune, and in the little time we get, we have to improve in every department, whether it is defending set pieces, attacking set pieces, or our football in general.”

Although Chennai had played only 270 minutes of top-flight football prior to the kick off, they often sliced through the Mohun Bagan defense, with Charles de Souza and co. causing them all sorts of problems throughout the game. Reflecting on Chennai’s performance, the former Prayag United coach said: “It’s [their patchy dominance] nothing wrong. This is football. Even Real Madrid can lose to an unknown team. It happens. It’s good for football. Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Bengaluru cannot win always. If there’s no competition, nothing will happen.

“Chennai showed good temperament. I told yesterday that every team was going to improve day-by-day. Their performance shows that Chennai have improved a lot. They put four foreigners, played to a plan, and created many chances.”

Although Marcos Vinicius and Charles often found themselves in one-on-one situations, their goal came on the back of a defensive lapse from Mohun Bagan’s Equatorial Guinea defender Eduardo Ferreira, who gifted Tank his maiden I-League goal. Asked whether what could have been a costly mistake from a veteran worried him, he said, “[It’s] nothing to worry [about]. He will learn from his mistakes. Let’s see how many times these things happen. This is the first time, and he’s playing only his second match. Let’s see – we have time to gel, and he’s also going to improve, definitely.”

Anas Edathodika started from the bench although the manager claimed on Friday that he had fully recovered. Quizzed about his decision, he stated that he ought to protect his players, given I-League’s hectic schedule.

“I’m not taking any chance,” said Sanjoy. “I should protect my players. When [Darryl] Duffy got that injury after a tackle from [Haroon] Amiri, I was thinking of taking him off at half-time, but I took another 10-15 minutes before changing him. As we’re playing back-to-back matches, we have to protect the players.”

Mohun Bagan will take on yet another bottom-half club DSK Shivajians on Tuesday night at Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, and the 56-year-old manager will want nothing short of three points.