SC East Bengal head coach Manuel Diaz stated that they are ready to win the much-hyped Kolkata Derby, set to take place on November 27. The Kolkata-based finished at the ninth spot last season, just ahead of Kerala Blasters FC and Odisha FC, and failed to qualify for the knock-outs.
Internal problems surfaced at SC East Bengal just ahead of the new ISL season, with their principal sponsors and the club owners at loggerheads. However, after the intervention of West Bengal’s chief minister Mamata Banerjee, the matter was resolved and both parties agreed to continue their venture in the ISL.
However, with the late drama, the team management got little time to recruit new players for the upcoming season. However, they did manage to pull-off a few high-profile foreign signings, including their new head coach Manuel Diaz. A former Real Madrid Castilla coach, Manuel had offers to continue in Spain itself but decided to treat himself with some foreign experience.
"I decided to come here because it (East Bengal) is a big club in India. Also, I had offers to continue in Spain but I wanted to get international experience. East Bengal is one of the most important clubs in India, 101 years old,” said Manuel Diaz, as reported by ANI.
SC East Bengal began their pre-season in Goa, earlier this month. They played two friendlies last week against Vasco SC and Salgaoncar FC, having beaten them 3-1 and 2-0 respectively. As per the coach’s verdict, Manuel the Indian players in the squad have good skills but need to improve tactically.
On the other hand, he feels that SC East Bengal is ready to win the much-hyped Kolkata Derby against ATK-Mohun Bagan on November 27, which is their second match of the season.
"We have tested the Indian players in the two friendly matches we played. They have good skills. We have to improve the tactical movements in general and we are in the right way to achieve our objectives,” added the manager.
"The derby is a very important match," Diaz said. "We want to win it not only for three points but also for the fans, to give them happiness. But we will also try and do well in all the 20 matches of the league. We are ready to win the derby, which is our second match of the season."