East Bengal FC won 1-0 over Kerala Blasters FC at Kolkata’s Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan last Friday (February 3) to end their four-match losing streak.

It was their second victory at home, fifth overall and second cleansheet in the current edition of the Hero ISL.

On February 8 (Wednesday), the Red & Gold brigade will take on NorthEast United FC in their penultimate home fixture this season.

Ahead of the game, EBFC’s latest foreign recruit Jake Jervis, who made his Hero ISL debut against Kerala Blasters, spoke about his decision to join East Bengal, the club’s large fanbase, the ISL’s growing popularity, his partnership with Cleiton Silva, the Kolkata derby, and more.

The 31-year-old forward plied his trade for 17 clubs before joining the Red & Golds on a free transfer last month.

Here are excerpts from the conversation:

On joining East Bengal and coming to India

Before joining East Bengal, I spoke to some of the players who previously played in India. They said they enjoyed the experience of playing in this country. I also wanted to play in Asia and experience a new football culture. I felt it was the right time to do so. Back in England, a lot of players are curious about the Indian Super League. The standard of the league is improving with each passing year. Players like Peter Hartley, who have a lot of experience of playing in England, have established themselves in India. It's something that caught my eye and hence, I decided to come to India.

On East Bengal’s large fanbase

Even before I was officially announced, I was getting a lot of messages from the fans (laughs). It shows how big this club is. I know East Bengal has a rich history. Once we start winning games consistently, I am sure more and more fans will turn up. I want to experience that atmosphere going into the final few games.

Playing with Cleiton up front is special

I tried to remain positive when I couldn’t be announced due to the club’s transfer embargo. I finally took the field and helped my team win last Friday. Getting the three points was massive. I am adjusting to a new way of playing that is very different to my playing style in Europe. Playing with Cleiton up front is special. He's a fantastic player and we have linked well in training. The more we play together, the better we are going to perform. Going forward, I want to show what I am all about and help East Bengal win as many games as possible.

On the Kolkata derby

I have been told by the fans and my teammates that the Kolkata derby is one of the biggest in Asia. I played with Carl McHugh in the past. It will be exciting to go up against him. I am excited to take part in the game. That will give me extra encouragement. I am looking forward to the derby and am ready for it.