We have to improve on all sides: East Bengal FC’s Constantine
East Bengal FC head coach Stephen Constantine called for his players to improve in all aspects of their game and leave no room for error, as his side hosts Jamshedpur FC in Matchweek 15 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, in Kolkata, on Friday.
The Red and Gold Brigade are placed ninth in the points table with 12 points from as many games. They are six points ahead of Jamshedpur FC, who occupy the tenth spot in the standings. The side will have to try and get maximum points from their remaining fixtures in order to finish in the top six for the first time in the club’s history.
Having won their first home game of the season in a 2-1 win over Bengaluru FC in Matchweek 13, Constantine wants his side to draw inspiration from that game when they face Jamshedpur FC on Friday.
“There are no easy games in this league, and on any given day, any team can beat any opponent. We have got the bogey of our back winning our last home game, we will try to win the first (home) game of the new year but it is going to be a battle, I am sure they (Jamshedpur FC) are going to come prepared as they are a good side despite where they lie in the table,” Constantine said in the pre-match press conference.
East Bengal FC have conceded 20 goals across 11 games and have managed to record just one clean sheet all season. The head coach refused to put the blame on anyone and wants his team to stick together and play as a unit.
“I do not think you can blame the defence or a single individual, the team wins the game and loses the game. We are not consistent, but we are trying hard to improve, and the players are working hard. We just have to get better on all sides, with the ball, without the ball, and in transition, so we will look to make those improvements tomorrow,” he said.
Forward Cleiton Silva has been a huge asset for Constantine as he leads the goalscoring charts for East Bengal FC, having netted eight goals this season. While he might be fit enough to start the game, Constantine provided a fitness update on the Brazilian as well as on youngster Himanshu Jangra.
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“Cleiton Silva is alright, he got off just as a precaution, and we have to appreciate his age, and he is a proper professional who we are trying to look after in a proper way. Himanshu is going to be out for at least two weeks before he can start training, and I am not sure how much he will be able to help us once he recovers from the injury as he will require more time to get in shape,” said Constantine.
There have not been many standout performers in a season with few positives for East Bengal FC, but along with Cleiton Silva, they have found another player who has been on par with his performances for the Kolkata-based side. 23-year-old Indian winger, Naorem Mahesh Singh, has been involved in six goals in 11 games, which includes five assists and a solitary goal.
“He (Singh) has not performed in the last few games, he needs to understand that the season is of 20 games and not three games. He needs to understand that we have given him the opportunity and he has been outstanding for three or four games only, which is not good enough. He needs to find consistency, he works hard but like many players he has plenty more to give and I am sure he will give it,” Constantine expressed his thoughts on the player.
Defender Charis Kyriakou, who returned from an injury, accompanied head coach Constantine in the pre-match press conference. Kyriakou, who has been ever present in the defence for the Red and Gold Brigade, believes he needs to step up for his team and stay fit to help them achieve its objectives and desired results in the second half of the season.
“Overcoming injuries is never easy, and I need to get back into form and full training to help my team. We need to work on being consistent for 90 minutes and not just for 45 minutes,” Kyriakou stated.
The 33-year-old's versatility is a unique factor that can determine the season for Constantine, especially when the team is in search for the three points.
“It is always good to play in different positions for the team when they need me, and it means you have to cope with every position you play in,” he concluded.