East Bengal FC head coach Carles Cuadrat believes his team need to improve in some competitive aspects to get all three points against Chennaiyin FC, as both teams will face each other in the opening fixture of matchweek 7 of the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Saturday.

By the end of matchweek 6, East Bengal FC managed to get only four points in five matches, enduring three back-to-back defeats against Bengaluru FC, FC Goa, and Kerala Blasters FC. 

Cuadrat also mentioned many times that it’s the beginning of a new project at East Bengal FC. Though the recent results are not in favour of his team, the Spaniard is very hopeful about his players’ abilities and their performances in training. During the FIFA international break, Cuadrat has used the last couple of weeks to rectify their mistakes and get his players ready for the upcoming matches. Recently, East Bengal FC played a friendly match against I-League outfit TRAU FC, which they won by a 2-1 scoreline.

“We have been taking advantage of the time because I think that we have been with the team doing more training during the FIFA break than any other team in the competition,” Cuadrat said in the pre-match press conference.

“It shows that we are really focused on the project. We want to try to get the team to be competitive, and it also shows that we are disappointed with the last results. I think that everyone in the team knows how well we are working and the good things that we are doing. But it's true that we have to improve in some competitive aspects that can give us points,” he stated.

The Spaniard opined that his team is well aware that conceding two goals in the last three matches has cost them points. He urges that one has to be positive in accepting their performance, as they are at the very beginning of the new project. 

“Work is there,” Cuadrat stated.

“I think that we all have to try to be positive to understand that it's the start of a new project and that sometimes you have to get the automatics happening in the team. The combination of players really supports each other, helps each other and knows how to manage the full game. So, I'm very happy with the work that we have been doing these last two weeks, and let's hope that we can express that also on the pitch in the next game,” he explained.

Cuadrat pointed out how Owen Coyle built his project at Jamshedpur FC, which led them to become the ‘ISL League Winners’ for the first time in the 2021–22 season. The Spaniard also shares a huge respect for the Scotsman for his work and achievements and also anticipates a tough match as both teams will be determined to get points.

“He's (Owen Coyle) in a completely new project with Chennaiyin FC,” Cuadrat said.

“I think that the results until now show how difficult the competition is because he (Owen Coyle) started trying to make the new team and he received three losses in a row, then he had two victories in a row, and then FC Goa beat them very clearly in the last match. So, I think that they are struggling at the start of the season to get that consistency. And I think it's quite similar to what is happening to us. I think that's the reason because we have only four points and Chennaiyin FC only have six points,” he explained.

“So, it will be interesting for the two teams to crash and try to get the points. Have a lot of respect for Chennaiyin FC because they are always very competitive, and a lot of respect for Owen Coyle because he has been showing with his work that he can build projects,” he further added.

Lalchungnunga, who made his national debut against Qatar on November 21, joined his head coach in the pre-match press conference ahead of their away fixture against the Marina Machans. The young defender, who joined the club in ISL 2022–23, thanked the club for giving him the chance to play and showcase his abilities.

“East Bengal FC has given me a chance to play (coming) from an I-League side,” Lalchungnunga stated.

"And last season I played regular football in the first eleven, and now I get selected, luckily, from the national team. Coach Carles (Cuadrat) is also pushing me every day and trying to improve me every day,” he added.

“I cannot say much about the level of the competition because I haven't performed,” Lalchungnunga said about how these difficult games will help them enrich their skills and improve their games.

“I cannot say much about the level of the competition because I haven't played much for the senior team, but the training and the confidence helped me with my performance in the ISL,” he concluded.