East Bengal FC head coach Carles Cuadrat is anticipating a competitive game when they take on Bengaluru FC in their third match of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Wednesday.

The Red and Gold Brigade have picked up momentum with a spectacular stoppage-time winner against Hyderabad FC after sharing spoils with Jamshedpur FC in the opening match. East Bengal FC now have four points from their first two games and would be looking to build on that and move further up the points table before the league halts for the international break.

The tie between these two sides has always been fierce, and Cuadrat believes it will be similar this time. Talking in the pre-match press conference, Cuadrat looked wary of Bengaluru FC and said that his side had to prepare for a very competitive game.

"We know that Bengaluru FC were fighting for trophies last season. They won the Durand Cup and were in the final of the Super Cup and the ISL so that means that they are a very competitive team. They have been working and also trying to bring in new players and trying to make (create) a solid project so we have to be ready for a very competitive match because they need the points very clearly after two games. They are going to give everything," Cuadrat said in the pre-match press conference.

Having previously managed the Blues, Cuadrat is also familiar with the atmosphere at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.

"They also have the Kanteerava stadium (home crowd) supporting them. It is a stadium with very loud fans. They help the team a lot," he added.

Cuadrat believes that scoring first in the match will be crucial, as he expects it to be a game of fine margins.

"All the games are very narrow in terms of results. Whoever is scoring the first goal will have the advantage. Both of us have consistent teams. Anything can happen," he said.

Despite their illustrious history and pride, East Bengal FC have struggled to replicate their past success in their first three seasons in the ISL. Under Cuadrat's leadership, the Red and Gold Brigade is gradually finding their rhythm again, and this is reflected in their performances both on and off the pitch.

"I am very positive looking at the club. We are settled with a new project. There are a lot of positives. Three players are going to the national team. We also have Hijazi (Maher) going with his national team we also have Gill with the under-23 national team and three more players going with the under-17 national team. I am very happy with the direction that the club is taking. We have to go match by match. We know that there are a lot of competitive teams and that there is a lot of pressure on us," stated Cuadrat.

East Bengal FC fans unfurled a beautiful tifo during the game against Hyderabad FC, depicting the unity of the team, along with a banner that read, 'Eleven Pairs of Legs, Carrying Millions of Dreams.'

The Spaniard has been deeply moved by the unwavering support from these passionate fans and has earnestly requested their continued support. He has pledged to give his best to achieve positive results for the Red and Gold Brigade this season.

"The tifo was a nice surprise. I have no words to appreciate what the fans have been doing for us since our arrival at the airport. We can feel it constantly. They support us a lot to get results. Wherever I go there are fans who greet me. They have great expectations for the new project. I am only demanding (asking) them to support us since it will be a long season and there will be both good and bad moments. I thank them for all of their support and I promise to give my all to achieve positive results," commented the Spanish head coach.

East Bengal FC defender Jose Antonio Pardo joined Cuadrat in the pre-match press conference. The centre-back has been a regular since injury ruled out Jordan Elsey. Pardo formed a new partnership with Harmanjot Singh Khabra in the centre-back position, and the duo performed well in the first two games.

Speaking about his performance and impact on the East Bengal FC team, he said, "I am happy with my involvement in the team and the level of performance that the team is showing. I feel that I am one part of the team in trying to get results. It is not just about me but it is also about teamwork."

The 35-year-old possesses vast experience, and he is confident that he can nurture the growth of young players with his wealth of knowledge.

"I know how to give a positive message to my teammates to try to get results. I feel like I can help players like Lalchungnunga to improve their defensive aspect of the game," he commented.