I-League: Under new coach Khalid Jamil, Mohun Bagan hopes to bounce back

Mohun Bagan, under its new coach Khalid Jamil, will be hoping to bounce back in the I-League when it takes on defending champion Minerva Punjab in Kolkata on Wednesday.

Khalid Jamil addresses the media in Kolkata on Tuesday.   -  AIFF Media

Mohun Bagan, under its new coach Khalid Jamil, will be hoping to bounce back in the I-League when it takes on defending champion Minerva Punjab in Kolkata on Wednesday.

Host Bagan is sixth, while the champion is placed a rung lower in the 11-team league. After parting ways with Sankarlal Chakraborty, Bagan has brought in Jamil as coach in a desperate attempt to revive its fortunes. The Kuwait-born Mumbai-based gaffer, who famously steered Aizawl FC to an I-League win two years ago, has barely had a day on the job before such a crucial clash.

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In his first press-chat as Mohun Bagan head coach, Jamil stressed on the need to keep things simple saying, “It is the first match for me and it is a big challenge to get a good start. We are only thinking about a positive start. We are not thinking about the past but about tomorrow, and will be giving our best. I will be keeping it simple, not many changes and thinking positive.”

Minerva, under Irish coach Paul Munster, have just not gotten going this season, reflected in its socring record of having struck just six times in 11 games. It is not for trying though, and Paul has tried out enough player-combinations but none seems to have given the dividends he would have liked, on evidence available so far.

He seemed to be more concerned about Bagan’s new coach brining in new tactics, saying in the pre-game presser, “It's a new coach. When a new coach comes in, the players want to impress the new coach. So, it is a motivation for them. We are aware of Mohun Bagan and we know how they play. New coach, he may make new decisions, new tactics, maybe different players playing.”

READ: Khalid Jamil appointed new Mohun Bagan head coach

He also disclosed that his premiere marksman might be injured for the game adding, “We have only two foreigners playing in defence, as others are injured. Both teams are in the same situation, similar in the league positions as well.”

Bagan will be the more confident of the two sides, given it won against Minerva in the first leg and has also won three of their last five encounters.

However, Bagan has not had a good run at the Salt Lake Stadium this year and Minerva will try and take heart from its win against the other Kolkata giant East Bengal at the same venue earlier in the season. William Opoku had scored in that game and Minerva will surely miss him on Wednesday.

Mohun Bagan’s defence, having conceded 14 in 11 games, is not the most compact in the league and Minerva will want to take full advantage of that, with some young and talented Indian attackers in its ranks.

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