East Bengal FC head coach Stephen Constantine wants his team to be consistent and display the best version of themselves, as his side square off against Chennaiyin FC in Matchweek 19 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Chennai, on Sunday.

Positioned ninth in the league standings with 16 points, the Red and Gold Brigade have been unbeaten in two games - having beaten Kerala Blasters FC followed by a draw against bottom-placed NorthEast United FC, a feat they achieved for the first time this season. Speaking on the recent performances, Constantine wants his side to draw inspiration from it and focus on being confident on the pitch.

“We beat Bengaluru FC twice, we beat Kerala Blasters FC who are third. Can we beat Mumbai City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan? We can beat anybody on our day. If we have a day like we did have against Kerala Blasters FC, we are capable of beating big teams but we are not consistent enough and that is the problem. We go to win every game but it’s not possible that we win every game but we try to win, we don’t go out there to lose,” Constantine stated in the official pre-match press conference.

“We want to try and win our next games to give us a bit of momentum. I think the game with Kerala Blasters FC was fantastic for us. The game against NorthEast United FC was the game where we lost two points. But it's the first time this season that we went two games without being beaten, the first time we kept a clean sheet and there are quite a lot of positives to take. I know we are not in the top six, which is where we want to be. But we are preparing to be in the top six, you don't just go in the top six,” he added.

Chennaiyin FC, on the other hand, have skewed their way out of the playoffs race, registering only one win in their last nine games this season. However, despite their poor results of late, Constantine is not taking Chennaiyin FC lightly.

“They seem to be a little bit like us. In the last eight games, they haven’t done particularly well. I think they’re a good side. When we played them in Kolkata, they were good. They have drawn five games and lost three, so they haven't won for eight games. So they're going to be a little bit motivated to try and win this game, but I'm more concerned about what we do than what they do, but they are a good side,” he said.

The Torchbearers have been boosted by the signing of Jake Jervis. The English striker is already off the mark in the Hero ISL after having played just two games. Having made a massive impact in the attacking front, Constantine highlighted his importance in the team and the significance he holds in the games going forward.

“Let’s not forget that he’s (Jervis) played two games in the last five days after not having played for almost three months, so it’s going to be difficult for him. Of course, he’s a big lad and he looks after himself, so it’s been a big plus in the games that he’s played and he’s only going to get better. It’s a shame that we didn’t get him three or four or even five games earlier because I’m sure we would’ve had four or five more points than what we have at the moment. So, we just have to look after him and see that he’s not overdoing it,”

The Kolkata-based side have strung out some good performances despite their struggles in the ongoing Hero ISL season. Constantine wants the supporters to back his side and have faith in the project he’s building at the club.

“Hyderabad FC finished last place two-three years ago, last year they won. So having continuity and consistency within the team, the coaching of the players is extremely important. This year was our first year. We see what we have, we know what we're going to remove. And I think hopefully in the summer, we are able to build on what we have, add a few more players and be much better, much more competitive. A better team than we were this year,” he added.

Forward Jake Jervis accompanied head coach Stephen Constantine in the pre-match press conference. The striker, who is known for his exploits in England's lower leagues, is playing in India for the first time.

The addition of Jervis will be an immense aid to East Bengal FC's attack alongside the likes of the league’s leading goalscorer Cleiton Silva and one of the top most assist providers Naorem Singh. The forward was delighted to make an instant impact in the team and wants to offer help in the best way possible in the remaining three games of the season.

“It’s good to make an impact in a new country. That's what I'm here to do. We have a few games left this season. I want to influence things and help East Bengal FC win more games going forward,” he said.

Commenting on East Bengal FC’s season thus far, the 31-year-old believes the club is on the right direction under head coach Constantine and said they need to be focused and consistent to be a better club.

“I think it's all about how we do things, I think we can make it as good or as bad as we want. We need to be consistent with things (because) we create chances and are getting goals. I think, as a team, if we stop a lot of small mistakes, which is obviously easier said than done, we try to make them as minimal as possible, then obviously, we give ourselves a chance to get as many points as we can,” he added.

After the fixture against Chennaiyin FC, East Bengal FC take a trip down south to Mumbai City FC followed by the Kolkata derby against ATK Mohun Bagan, which will be their final game of the season. The forward was aware of the highly-anticipated derby and is prepared to be a part of it.

“Before I even signed, I was getting told about it. So yeah, we've got an idea about it. I've played in some pretty big derbies, but I think this will be one that's very passionate and probably the biggest that I’m playing. So, it's something that we're very excited about and I understand what it means to the people,” he concluded.