ATKMB v EBFC: We were punished - Head coach Stephen Constantine after East Bengal Derby loss

East Bengal, despite putting on some attacking football especially in the first half, was not able to find the back of the net in the 0-2 loss to arch rival ATK Mohun Bagan. Head coach Stephen Constantine assessed the win and its lessons for the side.

Published : Oct 30, 2022 15:14 IST

ATK Mohun Bagan secured a 2-0 win against arch-rival East Bengal in the first Kolkata Derby of this season’s Indian Super League at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Saturday.

Sportstar got to experience one of the oldest footballing rivalries, ATK Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal FC, as the Kolkata Derby made its home soil ISL debut last weekend. From Lozenge Maashi and the tifos to our takeaways from the experience, check out the reporter diary.

Here are the exerpts from Stephen Constantine’s press conference:

Do you think the goalkeeper’s error turned the match around?

First and foremost, I want to thank both sets of fans. They created an excellent atmosphere and many congratulations to ATK Mohun Bagan for the win.

Football is full of mistakes, tonight it was the goalkeeper and on some other day it could have been anyone else. We cannot blame the keeper solely and, right from the start, we were the better team in the first half. We created enough opportunities to score and, had we made an impact with those chances, then, of course, the result of the game would have been different in the end. But by the time they (ATK Mohun Bagan) scored the second goal, the game had gone out of our hands.

Your team lost the match, but what were the reasons behind losing the way East Bengal FC did tonight?

We are in a rebuilding process. It is a new team management and it is going to take time. But with every passing game, we are doing better and, with five to six key players in the squad, I think we are one of the best teams in the league.

We have plenty to build on and there is competition for places, which will help us to keep getting better as the season progresses.

Do you think there was a gulf in quality on an individual level between the two teams?

The opponent knows about their strengths and I know about my team’s strengths. ATK Mohun Bagan have an ample amount of quality in their squad and most teams are going to have a problem facing them home and away.

You have suffered three defeats after four games so far in the season. How disappointed are you with that? What are your plans to cope with this?

Every team is trying to get into the playoffs and win a championship. The season is still a long way to go, and we will take it one game at a time. We are trying to lay the foundations for the future of East Bengal FC. There has been ample amount of improvements in every game, we will continue to keep working hard.

Regardless of the result tonight, what do you think about the atmosphere you experienced tonight?

The capacity of the stadium tonight was close to 62,000. It was fantastic to experience it beforehand after being behind closed doors in the previous seasons.

This is what we play the game for, to make the fans happy. It is a massive honour to play in such huge games, the biggest league game between two of the biggest clubs in the country. I would obviously like to win one and be on the happier end while enjoying the game with the fans.

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