East Bengal FC head coach Stephen Constantine wants his team to be up and ready for another crucial challenge in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) as they welcome Hyderabad FC to the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium, in Kolkata, on Friday.

East Bengal FC are currently ninth in the Hero ISL points table with 12 points from 13 games. They are eight points behind the sixth-placed FC Goa, while their opponent, Hyderabad FC, sit comfortably in the second position with 32 points in 14 games. Constantine’s side will hope to claim a point or more as the Red & Golds look to finish in the top six for the first time in Hero ISL history.

EBFC are coming off two defeats and will look to turn things around against a tough opponent in Hyderabad FC, in order to gain inspiration for qualifying for the playoffs.

“We have seven games left, and we have been close in many games, lost the games due to individual mistakes, but we must continue to fight and get as many points as we can. For me this is a rebuilding project so we cannot go 15 games unbeaten in the first rebuilding season and things have not worked in our favour for various reasons, that is a fact,” the head coach said in the official pre-match press conference.

Like Cleiton Silva is firing for the home side and is the top scorer in the league with nine goals from 13 games, the away side have a lethal striker in Bartholomew Ogbeche, who is in fine form. The Nigerian is not far off Silva, having scored seven goals, and the East Bengal FC will have to neutralise Ogbeche's threat to keep a clean sheet. 

“Everybody has a plan to try and stop a quality player, we have to keep an eye on him and we have to defend properly against him (Ogbeche) as we cannot afford to give him opportunities since he is quite prolific in the box,” Constantine stated.

Second-placed Hyderabad FC are clear favourites for the game on Friday. Though it is an away trip for the defending Hero ISL champions, they have a big advantage over the Red and Gold Brigade going by their current form. Constantine mentioned that a result against them will be a massive boost for them.

“You always want to play in such games against the big teams because there is always a possibility that you can take points, and that makes your performance better, and we want to get better after every game. We have scored first and taken the lead, but we must be able to defend well and not lose our shape, we need to do a better job,” he said.

Cleiton Silva, the top scorer of the Hero ISL with nine goals, accompanied head coach Constantine in the official pre-match press conference for the game against Hyderabad FC. Silva, an ever-present and vital figure in the team.

The Brazilian attacker has scored in almost every game for the Kolkata-based side. The number 10 player wants the team to stick together and keep performing in every match.

“I try to push myself, we have to give our 100% every time. It is a worry when you score and the team does not win, but scoring goals always helps the team, still, we have to do a better job as you need to have the mentality to win the game,” Silva said in the official pre-match press conference.

Silva is not only a goal scorer for the team, but also a very important figure in that dressing room. The veteran striker mentioned how he tries to set an example for his teammates. 

“I try to push them and give them motivation through my attitude on the pitch. I work harder on the field and always try to do my best in the game, and that is the best way to motivate my teammates, and on Friday I’ll try to score (having not been able to do it in the reverse fixture) against Hyderabad FC. We have to defend the lead or score more and try to handle the situation, be competitive, and stop making the same mistakes,” he concluded.