We were the better team tonight: East Bengal FC head coach Stephen Constantine
East Bengal FC head coach Stephen Constantine was elated to be the first team to beat Mumbai City FC at home in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season, as the Islanders suffered a 0-1 loss at the Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday.
With Mumbai City FC wrapping up the league shield already, head coach Des Buckingham gave four players debuts and named an all-Indian front line. The game was evenly poised and both teams had their fair chances but it was Naorem Mahesh Singh solitary goal, which made the difference at the full time whistle.
𝗗𝗘𝗦𝗜𝗥𝗘, 𝗙𝗜𝗚𝗛𝗧 𝗔𝗡𝗗 𝗣𝗘𝗥𝗦𝗘𝗩𝗘𝗥𝗔𝗡𝗖𝗘 🔴🟡— East Bengal FC (@eastbengal_fc) February 19, 2023
A special win in Mumbai! 💪🏻#JoyEastBengal #HeroISL #MCFCEBFC #EastBengalFC #IndianFootball #আমাগোমশাল pic.twitter.com/gQKQpCL7wl
With this win, East Bengal FC became the first team to beat Mumbai City FC at home in this season and the only team in the league to register a clean sheet against the Islanders. For Mumbai City FC, it was a straight second loss. Constantine was elated with the club's first win against Mumbai City FC in the Hero ISL history and opined that they were better than the home side in this evening.
"I'm delighted with the performance of our players and they played from start to finish. I thought, we were the better team. Obviously congratulations to Buckingham and staff for winning the shield, which is a great achievement but delighted to be the first team to beat them at home with a clean sheet," Constantine said in the pre-match press conference.
"I have to give these boys credit because they have fought with whatever they have there. They know they're not the best players in the league, but they have given everything for me and I appreciate that and we look forward to the big one, the derby," he added.
East Bengal FC play their last match against ATK Mohun Bagan in the Kolkata derby next Saturday. In the reverse fixture, the Red and Gold Brigade lost the game 0-2 in a tightly-contested match against the Mariners. But with the win against Mumbai City FC, Constantine and his players arrive at the derby match with momentum on their side. The EBFC head coach acknowledged the importance of the derby for the fans and assured them to give everything on Saturday.
"I know what the derby means to everybody. It's an important game. We want to win it. We will try to win it and it will be, as it always is, a really tough, difficult, hard fought game and I hope that we take the confidence from the performances like today, against Kerala Blasters FC and Jamshedpur FC, where we have shown that we are more than capable of beating anybody on our day, we beat Mumbai with a full team in Durand Cup, When we keep their shape, we will have the result," he commented.
With these three points, East Bengal FC are currently at the eighth position with 19 points, having won six matches and lost 12 matches. This is East Bengal FC's best season in terms of wins and total points, but on the other side, they failed to qualify for the playoffs again. Constantine analysed the situation and said the club needs to give more time to their head coaches.
"My contract finishes in May and if people are unhappy with my performance I have no problems. I will have offers here in India and outside but if you keep changing the coach, don't expect to win too many matches in football. We (EBFC) have changed 10 coaches in the last four years. We lost some players who had interest in coming to East Bengal FC because I couldn't tell them that I am here next season, for sure," he said
"If you keep changing the coach, that means you want to change the players, you're going to change the formations, the staff and there's no consistency and this is what the problem is generally in football. Find the right guy, if I'm not the right guy, no problem. But give the guy two years, three years and then you judge him," he concluded.