Have to close the gap with Mohun Bagan SG in the table: East Bengal FC's Carles Cuadrat
East Bengal FC head coach Carles Cuadrat is eyeing a victory in the first Kolkata Derby of ISL 2023-24.
East Bengal FC head coach Carles Cuadrat is eyeing nothing but three points as his team will face their arch-rival Mohun Bagan Super Giant in the first Kolkata derby of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023–24 season at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday.
Also Read: ISL 2023-24: Has the Kolkata derby's landscape changed?
The Red and Gold Brigade, who are going through a 10-match unbeaten streak, haven't conceded a goal in their last four ISL matches. East Bengal FC recently clinched the Kalinga Super Cup under Cuadrat, which was their first national trophy since 2012. Despite East Bengal FC having yet to secure a win against the Mariners in the ISL, Cuadrat's men will be determined to win the Kolkata derby for the third time this season. They previously beat their opponents in the Durand Cup and the Super Cup, both in the group stages of the tournament.
Cuadrat acknowledged that every Kolkata derby has its own speciality and is looking forward to another derby game.
"Every Kolkata derby has things that make the game special," Cuadrat stated in the pre-match press conference.
Cuadrat asserted that his team is now more stable and compact in comparison to what they were at the start of the season. They will be facing a Mohun Bagan SG side led by a new head coach in Antonio Habas, who takes charge of the club for the second time. Cuadrat is aware of the situation about his upcoming opponents but he firmly believes that both teams will do their best to be competitive to secure the three points.
"I remember the first one of the season; we were working only for a few weeks, so we were not like the team with the compactness that we have now. But even at that moment, there was a lot of pressure. Now we have ten games in a row that we have not lost, but they are also in a dynamic where they have to change things. They are going to play with a new coach and maybe a new system. So on both sides, we are managing our things to try to be competitive and to make a great game," he opined.
East Bengal FC have been unbeaten in their previous 10 games across all competitions with their last defeat coming against Kerala Blasters FC in November. Cuadrat said his players are already motivated for such a big fixture and set his sights on winning the three points.
"I don't have to ask for motivation from my players because they have been showing every match that they are ready for the competition," he said.
"Of course they are very motivated to play another Kolkata derby, another big game against our opponent in the city. So it's clear that for us, it's very important to get the three points. We have to try to win and close the gap with them in the points table. So it's going to be our intention tomorrow (Saturday) to try to get the three points," he added.
Souvik Chakrabarti has been playing a pivotal role in East Bengal FC's midfield with his high work rate and unwavering commitment. Unfortunately, the experienced midfielder will miss this Kolkata derby due to suspension.
"We are going to play with eleven players. So we will try to find another player who can do the job that Souvik is doing," he said.
"It's clear that he's having a fantastic season. We are all very happy with him. But we have to find solutions within the team. I am very happy with my squad. So I'm sure that the player that is going to play in that position is going to do our job," he concluded.
East Bengal FC supporters are very demanding: Cleiton Silva
Captain Cleiton Silva, who is the club's top goalscorer in the ISL, accompanied head coach Cuadrat ahead of the high-voltage fixture against Mohun Bagan SG. Notably, Silva scored his first Kolkata derby goal in their recent Kalinga Super Cup group stage match.
Silva is overwhelmed to see the passion and emotion of the numerous East Bengal FC supporters regarding this match.
"East Bengal FC supporters are very demanding. Everywhere you go in the streets, everywhere we stop, everybody says, Look, you have to win the Derby. I like to play these kinds of matches," he stated.
"For these matches, you don't need motivation from the coach's side. We are already motivated. When you come to warm up, there are already 20,000 or 30,000 people there. How can you not feel motivated?" he shared.
Silva wants to be an example to the young players in the squad with his performance on the field. He believes that at his age, with experience, he can show his young teammates the way forward.
"I'm 36 years old. With some experience, we can show them the path," he said.
"I try to be an example for them. Not only in talk, not only in words, but for what I'm doing on the pitch," he signed off.