East Bengal FC head coach Carles Cuadrat was pleased with the performance that his players displayed in the 0-0 draw against Mumbai City FC at the Mumbai Football Arena on Saturday.

Cuadrat’s men came with proper planning and they put in a tremendous shift in defence to prevent ISL League winners from scoring. Despite the mounting pressure from the Islanders on East Bengal FC towards the end of the game, they were only able to register two shots on goal, both of which were brilliantly dealt with by the Red and Gold custodian, Prabhsukhan Singh Gill.

The Spanish head coach shared post-match insights and highlighted the crucial need to turn draws into victories in the upcoming matches, aiming to secure a place in the top six.

“We have one more point. I think it's going to be a league with a lot of draws, with a lot of teams fighting for the (top) six slots in the league. So all these points help us to get close to the places. But at the same time, we have to get victories to try to fight for that place (top six spots),” Cuadrat stated in the post-match press conference.

“Until now we have too many draws and only two victories. But I think that the team is working in the right direction to make these draws into three points,” he added.

“There was a lot of space at the end of the match, to go for the counter-attack and to try to kill them (Mumbai City FC). So, it was a very professional performance,” the Spaniard continued.

The Red and Gold Brigade have now secured three consecutive clean sheets, with the last instance of conceding occurring during a 1-1 draw against Chennaiyin FC.

Cuadrat emphasized the significance of maintaining a strong defensive organization to excel in the league and expressed satisfaction with how his players are adhering to it. He also cited the example of league leaders FC Goa, highlighting how disciplined they have been defensively.

“It's the third clean sheet in a row. And if you want to be competitive, you have to have a good defence. And from there, you can build and can try to win the games. If you see FC Goa, for example, they are in the top of the league and they have gained five clean sheets in the last five games,” he said.

“The team is showing good organisation, a good way to understand the game. So I'm very happy for the effort that the guys are doing for that,” Cuadrat added.

Jordanian centre-back Hijazi Maher showcased an outstanding performance in East Bengal FC's backline, solidifying his position as a defensive stalwart. His remarkable 14 clearances in today's match set a record as the highest by any player in a single game in the current ISL season.

Cuadrat expressed his satisfaction in witnessing Maher finally reaching his best form.

“He (Maher) is helping us a lot. He is like a leader in the defence. He has a very good physique. And I am happy about my travel to Jordan to bring him (in the squad),” he said.

“He was making some strange mistakes (in the earlier games) and it was not (related to) his physicality. But now he has been showing everybody that he is a player who is helping us a lot,” the head coach added.

East Bengal FC will play their final game against Odisha FC on December 22 at the Salt Lake Stadium before heading into the break.

The Spaniard is determined to take full advantage of the home support and finish the year on a high note.

“We love to play at home. And (our) supporters are helping us a lot. Even here in Mumbai, they have been helping us a lot to get to that point. So we hope that we can finish the year on a positive note and that we can create a good atmosphere in the last match of 2023,” he concluded.