Carles Cuadrat at East Bengal FC: What does the Spaniard need to fix?
Hero Indian Super League (ISL) outfit East Bengal FC begin a fresh project under their recently appointed head coach Carles Cuadrat. Having roped in an experienced figure in Cuadrat, the Red and Gold Brigade will look to set things straight and get to work instantaneously before the new season commences.
Ever since their arrival in the Hero ISL, the Torchbearers have endured a rather difficult campaign, having finished in the bottom three in all three of their seasons so far.
With a proven winner in the Cuadrat, who previously won the Hero ISL title with Bengaluru FC, East Bengal FC have plenty of time in their hands to fixate on issues plaguing the club.
We look at some of the tasks that Cuadrat needs to resolve as he steps foot as the head coach of the club:
Iron out the defensive issues
East Bengal FC conceded the second most number of goals (38) in the Hero ISL 2022-23 campaign. As such, the club kept only three clean sheets, ranking ninth among all teams this season.
The constant influx of new coaches has not helped the side as they have conceded more than 30 goals in every single Hero ISL campaign, which has been a huge deterrent in their pursuit for success.
Under his three full seasons at Bengaluru FC, Cuadrat managed a total of 26 clean sheets – eight in the 17-18 season, 11 in the 18-19 season, and seven in the 19-20 season – highest for any head coach across three seasons at a single Hero ISL club.
A stable backline is a must for any championship-winning team, and with Cuadrat placing a huge emphasis on a strong defence, East Bengal FC would be hoping to fix their achilles heel.
With his preferred formation of 4-3-3 or 3-5-2, the 54-year-old relies on his defenders to get involved in the build up while also being compact without the ball. In two out of his three full seasons at Bengaluru FC, the side conceded the least number of goals under his tenure. They conceded 13 goals in the 2019-20 season (ranked 1st), 22 in the 2018-19 season (ranked joint-fifth), and 16 in 2017-18 season.
Establish a balance
If there was any shining light on East Bengal FC’s dampened season, it was the presence of Brazilian striker Cleiton Silva. While his goals and goalscoring form was a huge bonus for the Red and Gold brigade, the team lacked to play out as a cohesive unit and on most occasions relied on Silva to bring home the three points. And that was the case all through the season despite the prolonged signing of Jake Jervis. Out of the Kolkata-based side’s 22 goals, 13 were contributed by Silva, accounting for close to 60% of the goals.
Known for bringing the best out of his players, Cuadrat is equally meticulous with his tactics and his team’s structure. He will look to find the right mix of young and experienced players while making his team play as a unit.
Instil a fighting mentality
A go-getter personality who goes leaps and bounds for a win, Cuadrat’s philosophy and man management skills will be a vital element to reinvigorate this East Bengal FC side.
The La Masia graduate has more than just one plan to come away with a win. Cuadrat’s ability to tackle situations with alternate plans will aid East Bengal FC, who have thrown away 11 points from winning positions during the Hero ISL 2022-23 campaign, the joint-most in the league. Cuadrat will hope to instil a fighting mentality within his squad that can withstand pressure in tough situations.
A proven winner who brought fortunes and also created history with Bengaluru FC, it can truly be the dawn of a new era at East Bengal FC under his helm.