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East Bengal have asked me whether I want to stay: Stephen Constantine

The East Bengal coach hints at his interest in staying beyond this season at the Kolkata-based club.

East Bengal have asked me whether I want to stay: Stephen Constantine

Stephen Constantine (Source: East Bengal)


The Bridge Desk

Published: 24 Feb 2023 3:31 PM GMT

While East Bengal's ISL 2022-23 season is well over, they can still finish with a final hooray by beating arch-rivals in ATK Mohun Bagan, who will be looking to further cement their place in the top four.

Stephen Constantine's men will be coming into this derby after upsetting league shield winners Mumbai City FC after their 1-0 win over the Islanders. "I thought it (Mumbai win) was one of our best performances this season," Constantine commented ahead of the Kolkata derby.

In the reverse fixture, it was the Mariners who secured the bragging rights in a 2-0 win over the Red and Gold Brigade. However, East Bengal have certainly improved by skips and jumps, if not leaps and bounds.

"We are a different team than what they played in the first leg. I don't think there's any advantage or disadvantage when it comes to the derby. Form doesn't count in these types of games," the Englishman said.

The side has a chance to end the ongoing campaign with seven wins under their belt, six more than what they collected last season. Solely in terms of getting the most wins in a season, this is East Bengal's best season in the ISL. Stephen Constantine agrees, to a certain extent.

"Is this the best ISL season for East Bengal? I think it is. Is this what I wanted from the season? No. Our story should always be to aim for the top six. This season, we have laid the foundations. That being said, what happens next will be key," the coach said straightforwardly.

Constantine's current contract runs down in May 2023, going long enough for the English tactician to see off the upcoming Super Cup. There were media reports of him signing a two-year extension with the club, which Stephen rubbished. However, talks have taken place.

"It wasn't a denial. I haven't been offered a two-year deal by the club. They have asked me on multiple ocassions whether I would be interested to stay. That's it," the coach retorted.

When quizzed what his answer to the authorities was, he answered with a cheeky smile, "What do you think? Joy East Bengal."

Inconsistency has been a constant for East Bengal this season, with the team dropping 14 points from winning positions throughout the season. If it wasn't for this, the Kolkata-side would have well be sitting comfortably in the top six.

"Yes we have dropped points from being in the lead, and that has to do with our concentration levels. Perhaps our quality at times. It is a concern for us. Having said that, we have improved in the last few games, and the players are starting to understand the game. We need more moments. At the end of the season, I know who needs to go and who's going to stay, and how we'll replace them," Stephen analysed.

"To put East Bengal in the top six of the ISL would be my hattrick in India. LG Cup, Asian Cup, East Bengal in the top six, that's my target. It was always that, always will be, as long as I'm here," a determined Constantine concluded.

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