|East Bengal Coach
The triumph depicted the character of our side. We were not at our best in a few matches and we managed to win scrappily. But that’s how it is in knockout competitions.
Your new recruits must have pleased you with their performance — Chidi Edeh and Manandeep Singh in particular.
Manan (Deep) and Chidi are just too good. Having him on board is great. Don’t forget Dika (Lalrindika Ralte) — he was superb as a substitute. I feel these like Manan and Dika are the future of Indian football. They still have a long way to go but the signs are very positive indeed.
How much with the Federation Cup triumph help your team in the I-League?
Any victory brings with it confidence but we need to get out of the hangover. Dempo won’t ponder over what went wrong in the final and so will every side. The same implies to us. I-League is a different ball game altogether. But yes, our spirits will be high spirits after the triumph. The camaraderie is fantastic.
We need to win our first few games as that made the difference last time around when we narrowly lost the league to Dempo. The expectations of the fans are huge. They expect us to win every game.
…The I-League is still missing from your trophy cabinet.
For me personally, I don’t work in that manner. We have so many competitions in Kolkata. So I like to take one game at a time. That should the approach. I am happy with the progress of the club. Finishing runners-up twice in the I-League is commendable indeed. I spoke about the Fed Cup where we not at our best in all the matches. But that we won it, stays our hallmark — of a top side.
Do you have any special plans on how to approach the I-League?
I am happy with my squad. We may rope in one foreigner more but I am not too sure on that. We didn’t have the funds to sign one previously and I am not aware of the status. If we do manage to sign one more player, it would be an attacking player.
Who do you see as the favourites for the I-League?
I don’t want to get into it. We are looking to begin our campaign on a high.