SC East Bengal assistant coach Tony Grant admitted that they have respect for ATK-Mohun Bagan but do not fear anyone ahead of the much-awaited Kolkata Derby. The ‘red and gold’ brigade is now placed at the ninth position in the league table with 17 points from as many matches.
Although SC East Bengal are well out of the title race, the ‘Kolkata Derby’ will get them enough motivation to claim three points and play spoilsport in their arch-rivals’ bid to claim the top spot in the Indian Super League this season. The ‘Mariners’, leading the points table are outright favourites to clinch a win, but the fixture is a different occasion altogether. SC East Bengal assistant coach admitted that they have respect for ATK-Mohun Bagan but do not fear anyone.
"(ATK Mohun Bagan) They have got good attacking players. They will get respect from us and we are relishing the fight and the competition. Roy (Krishna) has done so well over the years. It is just football, every team has players. We respect certain players but we never fear anyone,” said Tony Grant, during the pre-match press conference.
The last time SC East Bengal faced ATK-Mohun Bagan, it was early on in the Indian Super League and they hardly went through eight training sessions together. But, as per the deputy coach, the ‘red and gold’ brigade have improved leaps and bounds since that game and the players are now enjoying the games.
"The first leg was tough on us because we had only been together for a short period. We probably had eight training sessions maximum, we had just two weeks of preparation. We never had any games and to face your local rivals was a little bit unfair on us. For such a big game, we hardly could prepare and they had a set team over the years so it was quite tough,” added Grant.
“But as it's gone on, we started to improve and you can see that the players are enjoying the games. They are looking forward to the games. It was down to us, staff to keep working hard, keep pushing the players and making them believe and by bringing in some new players and help the natural progression."