ISL 2020-21, Kolkata Derby: We accept the ATK Mohun Bagan challenge, says SC East Bengal coach Robbie Fowler

ISL 2020: East Bengal’s first match in the ISL will be a huge challenge for Liverpool great Robbie Fowler: the Kolkata derby against traditional rival ATK-Mohun Bagan.

The biggest challenging factor for Robbie Fowler will be time as he needs to make adjustments in a quick-fix manner to get the team going before the start of the tournament.   -  Getty Images

Robbie Fowler is definitely the most celebrated name among the current coaches in the upcoming Indian Super League (ISL) season. The Liverpool great, who made a name for himself in the A-League as a coach guiding Brisbane Roar to prominence from a modest position, will be looking to replicate the success in ISL for “rookie” SC East Bengal.

His fantastic playing career notwithstanding, Fowler’s ISL debut will pose a big test to his abilities as a manager. The biggest challenging factor for this Liverpudlian will be time as he needs to make adjustments in a quick-fix manner to get the team going before the start of the tournament. East Bengal got the least amount of pre-season training as the squad was hurriedly assembled after the club made a last-minute entry into the tournament. Added to this is the fact that the first match for Fowler will be a huge challenge: against traditional rival ATK Mohun Bagan FC.

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“It is a very tough game for our players. It will be a great start for the team and we will try to be ready for that challenge. There won’t be pressure on us because we are the new boys in the league and we’ll look to put all the pressure on ATK-Mohun Bagan,” Fowler said as his team prepared for its ISL debut.

“Ideally we would have preferred some other opposition to start with, but we accept the challenge and we will try to adapt. We didn’t have lot of weeks for preparation like the other teams, but we really are looking forward to it. For our supporters, I always wish that we could play in front of them, but unfortunately that cannot happen. We’ll definitely give the best shot for our millions of fans,” said Fowler, who was apparently briefed first about the almost century-old Kolkata derby on arrival.

“I am very excited about the squad and no doubt everyone there is eager to prove himself on the field. Our team has a good set of players when it comes to both foreign and local talents. They are professional players and know their jobs very well,” Fowler said.

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