ISL 2020-21 Preview: Fowler, East Bengal keen to get it ‘right’ against NorthEast United

ISL 2020: SC East Bengal will be keen on turning things around when it takes on a resilient NorthEast United FC at the Tilak Maidan at Vasco.

Robbie Fowler hopes SC East Bengal can bounce back after two defeats in the opening matches of the season.

‘We will get it right.”

Robbie Fowler has often repeated this phrase in his media interactions since his appointment as SC East Bengal head coach. And he is confident of doing so while remaining unwavering in his approach to playing football the ‘right way’ when it takes on a resilient NorthEast United FC at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco on Saturday.

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On the pitch, however, results have not gone right for Fowler and East Bengal. An opening game 0-2 defeat to derby rival ATK Mohun Bagan was followed by a 0-3 defeat to Mumbai City FC on Tuesday.

His comment on the quality of his senior Indian players at his disposal hasn’t gone down too well, either, with the Red and Gold faithful. Fowler offered an explanation to clarify, saying, “It was taken out of context. We are trying to play a certain way and we have an intricate way of playing. We have an identity and a philosophy. My players haven’t been coached this way before. So we are trying to implement our ways and get the best out of what we got.”

READ | Robbie Fowler clarifies comment on East Bengal’s Indian players

The task at hand has been further complicated with the injuries to skipper and centre-back Danny Fox and midfielder Lokon Meitei, who are awaiting scan results. Striker Aaron-Amadi Holloway, who is yet to feature this season, will not be available to line-up against NorthEast.

While Fowler’s side had been disadvantaged with its late entry and logistics in the build-up to the season, his opposite number, Gerard Nus, has impressed many with his work so far. Nus’ fiery approach on the touchline has been embodied by his players on the pitch. A come-from-behind draw against Kerala Blasters and a gritty draw against FC Goa showed that the opening day win over Mumbai City wasn’t a flash in the pan.

“We have created a bubble inside a bubble,” said the Spaniard, who is the youngest head coach this season. “We want to take it one game at a time. We have to get the best from the situation. Knowing how short the season is we established a plan from day one of pre-season, even during the quarantine period. Bringing in tactical ideas and built it up from there to have a clear way in how we attack, defend and manage the moments in the game.”

Fowler had spoken of the need to cut out individual errors, particularly in the full-back roles during defensive transitions. NorthEast with Ninthoinganba Meetei and Luis Machado have the pace and skill to exploit East Bengal’s weakness yet again.

Match facts

Venue: Tilak Maidan, Vasco

Time: 7.30 pm IST

Squads

NorthEast United: Sanjiban Ghosh, Subhasish Roy, Gurmeet, Nikhil Deka, Ashutosh Mehta, Benjamin Lambot, Dylan Fox, Gurjinder Kumar, Mashoor Shereef, Nabin Rabha, Nim Dorjee, Provat Lakra, Wayne Vaz, Rakesh Pradhan, Federico Gallego, Khassa Camara, Lalengmawia, Imran Khan, Lalrempuia Fanai, Pragyan Gogoi, Rochharzela, Idrissa Sylla, Luis Machado, Kwesi Appiah, Britto PM, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Lalkhawpuimawia, Suhair Vadakkepeedika.

SC East Bengal: Debjit Majumder, Rafique Ali, Mirshad Michu, Sankar Roy, Daniel Fox, Scott Neville, Gurtej Singh, Narayan Das, Lalramchullova, Abhishek Ambekar, Rana Gharami, Samad Mallick, Mohamed Irshad, Ningthoukhongjam Rohen Singh, Anil Chawan, Novin Gurung, Pritam Singh, Aaron Hammadi-Holloway, Anthony Pilkington, Matti Steinman, Jacques Maghoma, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Bikash Jairu, Sehnaj Singh, Surchandra Singh, Loken Metei, Haobam Singh, Milan Singh, Wahengbam Luwang, Mohamed Rafique, Yumnam Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Balwant Singh, CK Vineeth, Girik Khosla, Harmanpreet Singh.

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