East Bengal FC captain Cleiton Silva believes they can turn the Indian Super League (ISL) season in their favour if they can cut down on their mistakes and play as one unit.

The Red and Gold brigade have not had an impressive start to the ISL 2023–24 season, as they earned only four points in their opening five matches, which has placed them 10th in the league table.

Joining East Bengal FC in 2022, Silva is the highest goalscorer for the club, with 15 goals to his name. Silva, who scored 12 goals in the ISL 2022–23, was tied with Diego Mauricio as the top goalscorer of the season. The 36-year-old forward is getting better with age and is proving his worth every time he enters the pitch.

Since the start of the ISL 2022–23, Silva has won more points for his team than any other player in ISL has for their respective teams, with 16 goal contributions for the Torch Bearers; thus, he emerges as their go-to person whenever the team is in trouble. With his individual brilliance, he has swung the results many times in his side’s favour. With his precision, finesse, and power to convert a free-kick, the Brazilian has displayed his technical mastery and sets an example for others.

Silva spoke to indiansuperleague.com in an exclusive interview where he shared his thoughts on East Bengal FC and evaluated his time with the century-old club. Here are the excerpts from the interview.

You joined the pre-season camp of EBFC late. What did you do to keep yourself fit and active before that back home?

I have my own training ground in Brazil, which always has some people to help me out and of course, the club's medical and sports science departments always guide us during the off-season. Besides, I have some friends who own a gym in Brazil. They, too, help me stay fit during the off-season.

This season, you have more attacking players in the squad. How are you gelling together as a unit and what challenges have you faced incorporating the new players into the team?

I always try to help the young attackers with my advice. I love guiding the youngsters. You can see how some players have improved since the start of last season. Mahesh is a fine example. He has shown the most improvement over the past 1.5 seasons. I try to guide them with my experience. I’ve been playing professional football for the past 18 years, so I understand how important it is to help the young players around.

It was a tough loss against Kerala Blasters. What did the coach tell the players after the game?

Coach Carles is a very positive person. He’s always there to support and guide us. The tide will turn if we can rectify our mistakes.

How do you evaluate your team’s chances of making the playoffs?

We are only focusing on the next game. We can't look beyond that.

You’ve won more points for East Bengal FC than any other player has for their respective team since the start of last season. What do you make of this stat? Also, do you thrive under the pressure that you are one of the key players for your team?

I don’t feel any pressure. Rather, I feel happy to be that player. I know I play for a big club and I always try my best to help every club that I play for. My job is to score goals. The more goals you score, the better chances your team has of winning. I am very happy at East Bengal FC. The support I’ve been getting from the coaches, management and my teammates has been incredible. My job is to score more goals and help my team win more matches. That is what makes me happy.