East Bengal FC will be better in the second half of the season: Stephen Constantine
East Bengal FC head coach Stephen Constantine believes his side would be better in the second half of the season, aiming for the top six, as they host Bengaluru FC in matchweek 13 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Friday.
East Bengal FC face an almost must-win match against Bengaluru FC, having beaten them with a 1-0 score line in Bengaluru in the reverse fixture. The head coach agreed that the win against Grayson's side would boost the morale of the team ahead of the game but cautioned about the quality of the visitors.
"Knowing that we are capable of beating a team like Bengaluru FC, who are a good side, gives us confidence. We are playing at home and we want the crowd behind us to support us. But, Bengaluru FC are hurt, they lost their last game. They will come here and try to get three points. They have quite a few good players, so it will be a tough game. There is no easy games in Hero ISL, not for us", Constantine said in the Pre match press conference.
Coach @StephenConstan and @j_odoherty were quizzed by the media ahead of our eleventh Hero Indian Super League 2022/23 fixture against Bengaluru FC. 🎙🔴🟡— East Bengal FC (@eastbengal_fc) December 29, 2022
Watch the press conference 👉 https://t.co/7LF5PePeiK#JoyEastBengal #EBFCBFC #HeroISL #আমাগোমশাল #IndianFootball pic.twitter.com/dcb7RH7Ljr
East Bengal FC, currently at the ninth position, won only three games out of ten. The Red and Gold Brigade yet to get a home win and need 10 points behind the top six race. Constantine acknowledged that he was not pleased with their position in the table but the players have done everything they can.
"I am not happy with three wins out of ten but I think we should have had more points. We had opportunities in games to get good points. Three wins in 10 games is not good enough, not for East Bengal FC, not for me, but we know the problems that we have, We are trying very hard to improve the team, we work very hard in training, I cannot fault the players for effort, It’s just maybe the ability is not there or there are one too many mistakes but, the boys are giving everything in training and in games. We are on the right track. We need to be a bit patient and top six is still possible," he said.
In the last season, East Bengal FC finished at the rock bottom and won only one game. The club underwent a major revamp this season with a new head coach. As halfway past this season, the Englishman thinks they achieved what they set as their first target and are looking forward to adding more and getting into the playoffs.
"One of the first things I said is that we're not going to finish in last place and we're going to win more than one game. We have done that. We are absolutely not where I want to be. I want to be in the top six. If we'd have had a little more time, if we'd have had a few less mistakes in the games. We will be closer than we are at the moment (to the playoffs)," he said.
"But there are still 30 points to grab. We played quite well in eight out of ten games. So, we know what we are capable of. Everybody in the country has seen that we played some good football. We just need to make sure that we do it in all three phases with the ball, without a ball and in transition. Once we manage to get that, we will be better. So we have 30 points to play for and even though it is difficult, we will try to get 30 points," the Englishman concluded.
Jordan O'Doherty has been the midfield engine for Constantine's side so far. Besides scoring a goal, the Australian made 11 interceptions and 12 clearances for the Red and Gold Brigade. The 24 year old believes that they can get more points in the upcoming matches as they were the better side in many of the games in the first half of the season despite not getting the desired results.
"In this league there's no easy games but we have probably proven that there's no unbelievably hard game either. Except for two games, a lot of the game does feel like we should deserve more. So definitely that gives us confidence for the second half of the season to know that against some of the best sides in the league we can put on a performance and deserve more out of the game," said the midfield.
"I would be a lot more worried, if we played the first of the season terribly but we weren't. So, we know that we're capable of doing it. So. Let's hope it turns into results," he concluded.