I-League 2018-19: Pressure on Mohun Bagan, not us: David Robertson
Srinagar, Nov 19: Mohun Bagan have travelled north to take on I-League 2nd Division champions Real Kashmir FC at the TRC Turf Ground in Srinagar on Tuesday.
The Mariners have had a shaky start to their league campaign as they have drawn twice and won just once to sit fifth on the league table. Their only win came against Indian Arrows who are a developmental side bereft of foreign signings.
Bagan will be tested to their limits when they take on Real Kashmir away from home as they have traditionally struggled to perform well in the highlands.
Coach Sankar Lal Chakraborty is concerned more about his opponents than the foreign weather conditions that await them on Tuesday afternoon.
“We have travelled a day before to adjust to the weather and the synthetic turf. But I think to face team Real Kashmir is a tougher challenge (than adjusting to conditions). It is bad luck that they lost their last match as they had five-six clear chances on goal. They have built a good combination. They are a good team with two strong centre-backs. Their wing play has been brilliant.
“And as far as weather conditions are concerned we did train in the afternoon yesterday. We were not uncomfortable. After warming up the body responded well and the players had a good session,” said the coach.
The TRC Ground has an artificial turf which is further going to complicate matters for Mohun Bagan.
“Across the world, synthetic turfs are not in use anymore. But in hilly areas, you have to adjust to it even if you like it or don’t like it. Players are also upbeat to win this game irrespective of the conditions and turf,” reasoned the coach.
Real Kashmir FC head coach David Robertson made it clear that his team will play to enjoy the match and the onus will be on the Kolkata-giants to eke out a positive result.
“There is no pressure on us. We are playing a club which is more than 120 years old and it is an honour for us that Mohun Bagan has come here to play against us. I have played in big clubs and the pressure is always on the big clubs to get a positive result.
“Coming here, nothing less than a win for them would be satisfactory. We will just enjoy the event. Although we managed to get just a point from the previous two matches I think we played well enough. It was our first defeat after a year and we played great football. Teams coming here find it difficult because of the altitude and unless you are here five-six days here before the game it is going to be very difficult in the last 20 mins of the game,” stated the Scottish tactician.
But his team has been wasteful in the attacking third which cost them dearly against NEROCA. Robertson emphasised that he has been working on the end product and he hopes that his team will be able to put up a better display against Mohun Bagan.
“The good thing is that we have been creating chances. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take them in the previous match but we have been working on our finishing. Against a good team like Bagan chances will obviously be less but we have to make the most of it.
“If you look at all the teams, except Chennai, everyone has had a slow start. We beat the defending champions in the first game. It is very very early. At some point, Mohun Bagan will click and push on but hopefully not tomorrow. ”
The home matches of Real Kashmir has seen an exceptional turnout and the coach heaped praise on the 12th man as he thinks that they would play an important role in Tuesday’s match.
“The support has been outstanding for us. Kashmiris enjoy football and they are coming out in numbers which actually gives us an edge. I still remember that we were losing a game 2-1 at half-time but we came back and won it 3-2 in extra time because of the way they spurred us on. Obviously, we don’t have the history of such Kolkata clubs but again since we are in I-League the people will support for Real Kashmir. It just adds pressure on the away team,” concluded the coach.