Kolkata: East Bengal’s Spanish coach Alejandro Menendez feels the I-League’s first derby of the season against arch-rivals Mohun Bagan is crucial in terms of deciding the fate of the two teams in the competition.
Both the traditional heavyweights have had a poor first start to their campaign with East Bengal having the slight advantage — sitting sixth in the points table with nine points from six games. Mohun Bagan are placed eighth with nine points from six games.
Both the teams are eight points adrift of surprise leaders Chennai City FC and cannot afford anymore slip-ups if they are to harbour any hopes of reviving their campaign.
“The match is very important for everyone, for fans, for us and for championship. We will try to win for our supporters. We will give our best for the fans tomorrow,” Menendez told reporters in the pre-match presser.
In his first derby, Menendez said he understands the emotional importance of this game too and the team with better spirit will win on the morrow.
“This type of matches are very important from an emotional perspective. It is difficult for both the teams. Team which shows better spirit will win tomorrow. This is similar to (Real) Madrid (FC) Barcelona or (Real) Madrid Atletico (Madrid). The fans start preparing for one week prior,” he added.
East Bengal will miss the services of Spanish forward Enrique Esqueda, who has been ruled out due to a rib injury. Mohun Bagan will be missing the services of star winger Sony Norde, who is out with a muscle tear.