The City of Joy will once again celebrate its love for football in a gallant way as Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal are all set to lock horns this evening at the Mecca of Indian Football for the first I-League derby of the season. On the eve of the big match, Bagan’s big man in defence Ashutosh Mehta speaks to The Bridge on the league so far and his expectations from the mega fixture.
The Bridge: Ashutosh, how are you shaping yourself ahead of the derby?
Ashutosh: Our main target is to bag three points. In fact, all the games we go and play with the same attitude and mentality and tomorrow it’s not gonna be different.
The Bridge: Currently you are one of the top defenders in the league. How do you feel about it and what pushes you to bring out the best on the pitch?
Ashutosh: I always believe that there is no alternative for hard work. I try to keep things very simple: learn new things, eat the right food and in its none other than Sunil Chettri who inspire me to go through this regime. It really helps me a lo and helps me to bring out the most of it.
The Bridge: Though the I-league campaign started on a struggling note for Mohun Bagan, the inclusion of youngsters like Subho Ghosh and Shankar Roy has changed the game on the pitch. What’s your take on it?
Ashutosh: Not only Shankar and Subho; Naorem, Sahil, Suhair, Britto all of them have come up with good performances. For me, the entire team has been working really hard and we expect to get the results on the field tomorrow.
The Bridge: This time it’s going to be a war of Spanish armada between the two Kolkata giants. How do you see it?
Ashutosh: I am sure this time the fans would see attractive football from both the teams in the derby.
The Bridge: Who is the best player of East Bengal in the I-league for you so far, who can be a challenge for your team in the derby?
Ashutosh: There are many good players in East Bengal and so we are focusing more on the team as they are more dangerous than one particular or individual player.
The Bridge: How is the composure in the dressing room ahead of the big match?
Ashutosh: The dressing room is very focused and everyone is ready to go out and play their best game.
The Bridge: As you know last season, East Bengal has won both the derbies of I-league and this season the first derby has been a stalemate. What is your expectation from Sunday’s match?
Ashutosh: Football, especially the Kolkata derby, is very unpredictable as anything can happen tomorrow. The team which shows more character, more personality, more will, more determination and more grit on the field will be the favourites to win the game. I hope that we will be able to do the right thing at the right moment tomorrow.
The Bridge: Your message to the Mohun Bagan fans.
Ashutosh: You guys are the reason why we play the game. So, keep loving and supporting us as it really motivates us to give out the best on the field.