The players need to play more freely: SC East Bengal head coach Mario Rivera

SC East Bengal coach Mario Rivera believes his players need to believe in themselves and fight to lift themselves off the bottom end of the table as they prepare to face Odisha FC in match 84 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 at Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco da Gama on Monday.

SC East Bengal are placed tenth in the league table with 10 points in 15 matches. They are level on points with NorthEast United who are just below them. The club has picked up four points in the last five matches.

SC East Bengal drew 2-2 against Chennaiyin FC in their last match. They were two goals down going into the last half an hour of the match. But goals from Darren Sidoel and Lalrinliana Hnamte earned them a point. 

Ahead of SC East Bengal’s clash against Odisha FC, coach Rivera addressed the media during the official pre-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from the press conference.

What was your half-time talk against Chennaiyin FC? Will we see a similar performance tomorrow?

At half-time, I requested the players to be brave and they did it. I think they need to lose some weight and start to play freely. Now the players are fit and trust themselves.

Given SCEB are out of the playoff race, how are you motivating your players?

It’s easy because the players are very professional. They want to win and give their best performance. They want to show everyone that they are good players and don’t deserve to be in this position. They are hungry to win and play. I need to motivate them only a little.

Your team made an impressive comeback in the last match. Would you rate it as SC East Bengal’s best performance this season?

I think it was one of the best halves that we have played. Also, the first half in the Kolkata derby. Both were good performances.

Do you think SCEB has a realistic chance of finishing mid-table?

We are not thinking about it. We are only thinking about the next match. We will take it match-by-match. Our target is to always get the next three points. At the end of the season, we will see which position we are in but right now we are only thinking about the next match.

What’s your assessment of Odisha FC?

It’s a good team. They are one of the good teams in the league. They always have four plus two players behind the ball so it’s very difficult to surprise them. They have some very good players who have played in La Liga, and fast wingers.

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