SC East Bengal host Jamshedpur FC in what is going to be a crunch encounter between two teams in the bottom half of the Indian Super League (ISL) points table. Having lost all of their three matches till now, SC East Bengal head coach Robbie Fowler would be under pressure to finally deliver. However, it won’t be easy because they’ll be facing a buoyant Jamshedpur side that are coming off a hard-earned victory against ATK Mohun Bagan.
“Like every other game, it will be a tough one. In this league anyone can beat anyone on their day. So it’s another game where we can try to improve how we’re going,” said Fowler when asked about his opinion of Owen Coyle’s side during the pre-match press conference. The Liverpool legend also seemed confident that his side will be able to turn a page and get a positive result sooner rather than later. “We haven’t been too bad in terms of performances. The results have probably gone against us a bit. But in the games we’ve played so far, we haven’t been outclassed completely. We’re not far away from a positive result,” he said.
The former England striker isn’t unduly worried about his attackers being under-confident. “Whenever you aren’t scoring goals people always say that the strikers are not fired up or not confident. But it’s not always about the strikers. We need other people as well to weigh in with goals,” is how he put it. Having reiterated the fact that they are still a little behind the others in terms of preparation, Fowler is taking solace in the fact that they have created good chances.
“I’d be more worried if we weren't getting chances. I think we are a team that likes to play football. We have an identity and philosophy and we aren’t going to change that. Players will go through periods when they don’t get goals. It’s not ideal. But we are creating chances so at the minute we don’t need to worry too much. The goals will come,“ he expressed.
The Red and Golds have been missing the likes of Loken Meetei, Daniel Fox and Aaron-Amadi Halloway due to injuries. Fowler confirmed that they won’t be available against the Red Miners. “They’re still not ready. Hopefully they’re back sooner rather than later. The scan results are a little better than what we initially envisaged so we’re just waiting now. The players’ mental health is also massively important. So till the time that they are ready, we’ll have to look after them,” he explained.
Fowler knows about the threat of Nerijus Valskis very well. The Lithuanian has scored 5 goals in 4 games and is leading the goalscoring charts. It will therefore be imperative for East Bengal to stop him from finding the net. “Strategies can go out the window if you have a player who’s playing really well and scoring goals. We’ll of course have a plan. Our emphasis will be on stopping them from scoring and scoring ourselves. We’ll be focused on getting the first goal. Regardless of them, if we can get that first goal, we might see a different team,” he said with a sense of optimism.