The latest edition of Kolkata Derby, the first of this season’s Indian Super League (ISL) was played on Saturday. It had all the excitement that is associated with the continent’s oldest and the most followed football rivalry.
East Bengal coach Stephen Constantine summed up the experience of the Derby by saying the “fantastic” atmosphere of the match and the presence of 62500 fans made it a “privilege and honour to play these games.”
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“This is why we play these games. Someone asked me the other day about pressure, but it is a privilege and honour to play these games. It is great to be involved. I would like to win one of them and hopefully, we’ll win the next Derby – which is the last game of the season,” Constantine put a note of assurance for the disappointed fans after the 0-2 loss against the arch-rival.
The former National coach, who has a fair understanding of the Indian players and the conditions, said that his team is in a rebuilding stage and would improve further as the League progresses. “I said a long time ago that we are in a process, this is a new team with new management and new everything. But with every game, we are getting better. There is plenty to build on, there is competition for spots (in the squad). We will learn from this game as we have from the previous ones,” Constantine said.
East Bengal put up a great fight in the first half and had its chances to find the lead, but things changed with two quick goals from ATK Mohun Bagan. “We were confident at half-time, we controlled the first half apart but in the second half, (Hugo) Boumous took a shot from some distance and somehow the ball managed to go in. It was difficult to come back from that point,” Constantine pointed out the turning point of the match.
ATK Mohun Bagan coach Juan Ferrando felt that the Derby win pointed out the real potential of the team. “To talk about the performance, sometimes it’s good and sometimes it isn’t. The Durand Cup was a preparation for the AFC Cup, but we had no success in the AFC Cup – which is the truth. We started the season poorly with the loss against Chennaiyin because of a lack of self-confidence. Maybe we now know the real level of the team,” Ferrando said.
The ATK Mohun Bagan head coach said the win was a good occasion for the fans to celebrate, but the team needs to prepare for the next match, which is against Mumbai City FC (on November 6) at the latter’s home.
“We are professionals. We are happy but it’s important to think about the next match. We have another match and three points on the line next week. Today is a day for the supporters. They deserve to enjoy this,” Ferrando said.
“But we need to prepare for the next match. Three weeks ago, we weren’t the worst team – and now we aren’t the best team. We need to keep calm and keep going to win against Mumbai,” he added.