Mohun Bagan Super Giant assistant head coach Clifford Miranda feels great to have Dimitrios Petratos back in the squad as they as they face NorthEast United FC (ISL) at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Friday.

The Mariners remain undefeated so far in the league this season. They won five of their starting six fixtures while drawing against Odisha FC in Matchweek 9. NorthEast United FC, on the other hand, have not been in the best form off late. They have been winless in their last four games with their last win coming in October against Jamshedpur FC. 

Miranda was glad to have Petratos back from a hamstring injury and believes his presence, alongside Australian striker Jason Cummings, Albanian star Armando Sadiku, and forward Suhail Bhat, can create a great impact on the club. 

“When you have, for me, the best striker in this club (Petratos) at the moment, with due respect to everyone, also Jason (Cummings) and also Armando (Sadiku), because we all know how important and how good Dimi has been for the last year as well as this year and to have him back along with Jason and Armando and Suhail (Bhat) is very good for the club,” stated Miranda in the pre-match press conference.

Mohun Bagan SG are among the three unbeaten sides in the league so far besides FC Goa and Mumbai City FC. They will be up against a NorthEast United FC side desperate to return to winning ways. While Mohun Bagan SG have won five of their six games so far, NorthEast United FC on the other hand, have managed to win just two of their nine matches so far.  However, Miranda was wary of the opponent's strenghts and said they cannot be taken lightly, despite their recent form. 

“To get three points against any opponent is a good opportunity now. But, we cannot write them off. No one can. If you have watched the last game against Hyderabad FC, I think they should have been up by three or four goals in the first half itself. They are a very good team, a very, very organised team, much more organised than some of the ISL teams with a very good coach and a very good style, a very clear style of play.”

Mohun Bagan SG head coach Juan Ferrando earned himself a red card in the concluding moments of their match against Odisha FC and will not be with the team. Miranda shared that the team have appealed against the red card but the decision is yet to arrive.

“We still don't know whether the head coach will be there or not, but I hope he will be there. I hope he is there. I hope we are successful in our appeal. But then, like I said, he prepares the team. He does everything, all the preparation, all the planning. It's just that he will not be there on the bench if it happens,” he stated on the matter.

While Mohun Bagan SG have been unbeaten in the league thus far, they couldnt make it past the group stages in the AFC Cup. In the previous edition, they had reached the Inter-Zone Semi-final.

Talking about his team's exit from the AFC Cup, Miranda said: “When you play in such a such a long season, there's always a trajectory where the team will slide down. It happens around the world. You pick any league and you will find there's very few teams where you start from, you dominate in terms of points and also in terms of results, from start till the end. There is always the graph, it’s always, there is always a downward trajectory. And this is normal in football. We are not machines,” he added.

Dimitrios Petratos accompanied Miranda to the press conference. Making his return from a hamstring injury, the Australian forward emphasised on giving his best to help the team irrespective of how much time he gets on the field. 

“I'm in a good place. I've been working hard to get back. I'm looking forward to the game, to give my best. And that's all I can do in the end, my best to help the team. It doesn't matter if I play from the start or play five minutes, whatever I can do to get the result. It's important to get the result and keep going,” said Petratos in the pre-match press conference.