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'Not interested in the derby,' says Stephen Constantine as East Bengal focus on NorthEast United test

East Bengal head coach Stephen Constantine re-iterated his indifference to the Kolkata derby as he faces the Highlanders in the next fixture.

Not interested in the derby, says Stephen Constantine as East Bengal focus on NorthEast United test

Stephen Constantine (Source: Emami East Bengal)


Rajdeep Saha

Published: 18 Oct 2022 8:42 AM GMT

The Kolkata derby which will see giants of Indian Football East Bengal and ATK Mohun Bagan lock horns is scheduled for 29th October. However, the Red and Gold Brigade's head coach Stephen Constantine wants to focus at the task in hand.

"I'm not interested in the derby. We are facing NorthEast in the next game and our attention is there. All games have pressure as that's the nature of the business. So, right now we are not thinking about ATK," the Englishman said to the press.

East Bengal have lost their first two matches and so have NorthEast United FC. It's a similar story for both sides as problems of last season have started to surface once more. Both Constantine and NEUFC head coach Marco Balbul will be looking for a win.

Unlucky NorthEast United

East Bengal's man at the helm watched their next opponents' match against Bengaluru FC and praised them. "They were really unlucky to not come away with at least a point against Bengaluru. I watched the game and saw that the NorthEast United players worked hard off the ball," Constantine summarised.

"Just like every team, even NorthEast United has different personnel. So, we plan differently against them, as we do for all our matches," he said on whether Kolkata-side team was looking to prepare any special way against the Highlanders.

Bengalis are everywhere

A club like East Bengal is bound to have fans all around the globe, and Stephen seconds that notion. "When you are the coach of East Bengal, you expect Bengalis to be there. If tomorrow we were to go to Brazil, you will find them there," the coach said.

Jokes apart, the Red and Gold will need all the away support they can get against NEUFC as the crowd in Guwahati can get loud and be cumbersome for the travelling teams.

Mindful of players' feelings

If you are in football, you are bound to attract flak if there's a dip in your performance. Similarly, Sumeet Passi is one such player who has been on the receiving end of criticism, and borderline abuse due to his recent outings. Coach Stephen feels this is uncalled for.

"We need to be more mindful about the feelings of players. Is Sumeet the best player in the team? No. But he has worked his socks off. He didn't play well in the Goa match and was substituted at half time. It wasn't his fault that he let in two goals. This happens in football, but this is no reason to bash someone," Constantine said.

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