Players and coaches react to Hero ISL 2020-21 fixture reveal

With Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) just around the corner, players and coaches were buzzing with excitement when the fixtures till January 11 for upcoming season were revealed on Friday. ATK Mohun Bagan FC take on Kerala Blasters FC in the opening game on November 20 while the much-awaited Kolkata derby is set to take place on November 27.

Sharing his thoughts on making their Hero ISL debut against their fiercest rivals, SC East Bengal head coach Robbie Fowler said, “We know how tough any game would be. But for us to get a massive derby out of the way is something for us to train for. It's a massive game for our players and we can't wait. We will be looking forward to it.”

Former champions Bengaluru FC begin their season against a new-look FC Goa on November 22, before playing Hyderabad FC, Chennaiyin FC and NorthEast United FC. While assessing the recruitment of their opponents ahead of the new season, Bengaluru head coach Carles Cuadrat made it clear that he’s wary of the challenge that lies ahead for his team.

“It is clear that FC Goa, Hyderabad FC, Chennaiyin FC and NorthEast United have made an effort to add strong foreigners to their squad, so I am sure they are going to be tough opponents. But tactically speaking, we will have to wait until we see them perform in the first rounds of the competition. What is sure is that we have an exciting season ahead for all of us,” Cuadrat told Bengaluru FC’s official website.

Elsewhere, midfielder Edu Bedia hopes to win the coveted Hero ISL trophy with FC Goa in what will be his third season with the club. “I’m really excited for the new season. The new Indian guys are hungry, and the new foreign signings have been class. We have been a good team for the past few seasons, and we would like to finally win it all this season,” the Spaniard told FC Goa’s official website.

The Gaurs take on the Blues in their first outing of the season and Bedia believes that playing the entire season in Goa will work in his team’s favour. “This year will be particularly advantageous for us as it’s happening in Goa. We are well acclimated to the conditions here. This is our home turf,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jamshedpur FC’s head coach Owen Coyle will look to get off to a bright start with his new team this season when they take on his former side Chennaiyin in both clubs’ opening game of the campaign. “I am absolutely looking forward to playing against Chennaiyin FC. I know it won’t be easy to get the three points. We are looking to hit the ground running from the first game and get a positive result,” Coyle told Jamshedpur’s social media team.

Conversely, Brazilian midfielder Memo Moura, who has shifted base to Chennaiyin after two seasons with Jamshedpur, is hopeful about starting the season with a win over his former club. “Everyone knows that I played for Jamshedpur FC for three seasons but now my focus is currently on Chennaiyin FC. We are training hard every day to start well and hope to secure three points in the first match,” the 32-year-old midfielder said.

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