Wed, 19 Jan 2022

Panaji (Goa) [India], November 27 (ANI): SC East Bengal head coach Jose Manuel Diaz is wary of the threat posed by ATK Mohun Bagan players ahead of the much-awaited Kolkata Derby in the ongoing Indian Super League (ISL).

ATK Mohun Bagan and SC East Bengal will lock horns in the fan-favourite clash on Saturday.

Mohun Bagan have gotten off to a flying start in this season's ISL, beating Kerala Blasters 4-2. Meanwhile, East Bengal played out a 1-1 draw against Jamshedpur FC in their first match.

"For me, the whole squad of ATKMB is a threat. Yes, Hugo and Krishna are good players who can score goals, but one or two players can't win you a match," SC East Bengal quoted Diaz as saying.

"The team has to perform well collectively to win. So we're making plans to stop the team instead of focusing on individuals," he added.

The task is cut out for Diaz, and his men, who will have to face one of the most formidable attacking line-ups of the tournament in their second match of the season. The coach, however, is not overly concerned.

"I know it is only our second official match of the season, but we don't want to come up with any excuses. We know ATKMB is a good team and is helmed by an able coach who has experience in the ISL, but we will try to do our best," Diaz said ahead of the much-awaited fixture.

The former Real Madrid B team's coach did not divulge much about the formation he was going to play in the derby, saying, "We are working on different options and combinations because there are many matches we'll have to play in a short period of time, so we're keeping all options open."As a part of preparations, Hugo Boumous and Roy Krishna hit the ground running for ATKMB, with the Frenchman netting a brace against Kerala and the Fiji striker converting a spot-kick.

But Diaz is focused on improving his team's game and is clear on how the players should play.

"Our focus will be on minimizing mistakes, having a strong structure, and capitalizing on the weak points of ATKMB. We must be compact, give good, secure passes, and create opportunities in the attacking half, because it becomes difficult if we're defending the whole time," said the East Bengal head coach.

ATK Mohun Bagan will go into the match as favourites, based on form, but our gaffer is not too worried about the 'underdog' tag.

"No, it doesn't bother us. We will play to our strong points. Though ATKMB's squad has been playing together for many seasons, we are ready," Diaz signed off. (ANI)

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