We must focus on Jamshedpur FC, not the derby: East Bengal coach Jose Manuel Diaz
SC East Bengal coach Jose Manuel Diaz says his team are firmly focussed on the game against Jamshedpur at Tilak Maidan Stadium, in Goa on Sunday despite the big Kolkata derby fixture that is on the horizon in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) next Saturday.
East Benal will also be determined to put the demons of last season behind them having finished in the ninth position, winning only three out of the 20 matches.
The Red Miners on the other hand ended their campaign as the sixth placed side, missing out on a semi-final spot by a margin of only four points.
East Bengal have looked exciting in pre-season under coach Diaz and will be keen to replicate that against Jamshedpur when their season begins.
Ahead of their opneing clash, head coach Diaz and assistant coach Angel Puebla Garcia, who acted as translator for the former, spoke to the media during the official pre-match press conference.
Here are the excerpts from the press conference.
How crucial is the first match for SC East Bengal, given that you play the Kolkata derby next?
Our focus is the first match against Jamshedpur FC not the derby. The first match is very important to gain confidence. After the pre-season we will hopefully do a good job in the first match. The history is what it is. We will be ready to play against ATK Mohun Bagan.
What will be your approach against Jamshedpur FC?
Jamshedpur FC have retained most of their players from last season. They have the same coach. We wait and see if they play in the same style as last season. We know what we have to do in the game. And we must do our best.
What do you expect from Daniel Chima? Is he your main weapon in attack?
He is a very good player. We know he can help us in scoring and helping teammates. We are excited to see him play. But Chima needs his team. He will improve his level if the whole team works together.
What brand of football will we get to see from your team?
In the pre-season we have done 35 sessions and we know the abilities and skills of the players. We can play in different ways and we can look for different solutions every match.
SC East Bengal’s debut season did not end well with the club finishing ninth. Are you hopeful of turning things around this time?
Last season we didn’t respect the fans. This season, it’s a new team with new players and coaches. And we are confident that we will improve on the level from last season.
What are your expectations from the foreign players?
The foreign players must make a difference. But it is a difficult situation for them because only four foreigners can play.