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ISL: Bottom-placed SC East Bengal desperate to beat NorthEast United

Sports Lounge Staff

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SCEB training

Margao: SC East Bengal would be desperate to overturn their stuttering Indian Super League (ISL) campaign against NorthEast United on Saturday.

SCEB have lost both their opening fixtures (0-2 vs ATK Mohun Bagan and 0-3 against Mumbai City) and are placed at the bottom of the 11-team league. NEUFC are third with five points from three matches, and are unbeaten so far.

They started with a bang, beatig Mumbai 1-0 but then have been pegged back by a 2-2 draw against Kerala Blasters and a 1-1 stalemate with FC Goa.

Gerard Nus’ side, though unbeaten, have struggled to score from open play.

“We are working to create chances from open play and set-pieces. We will not have only one plan. We are focussing on ourselves. We watched them (East Bengal) play and they did not have the results they wanted. But they are going to be difficult and a threat to us,” Nus said.

“It will be a tough game. We know how good they are with the ball. They are well organised during set-pieces. We are going to stop them and create chances against them. That’s the plan. Not a single game is easy. It has just started. Everybody has the energy and it will be a tough challenge,” he added.

Robbie Fowler’s SCEB have had several problems in their two defeats.

Neither have they look assured at the back nor have they been penetrative in front of goal. Their squad looks lightweight and the overseas players haven’t yet gelled with domestic players.

To make matters worse, Fowler criticised the technical quality in his squad after the defeat to Mumbai City FC.

“We will coach the players because, in all fairness, few of them have probably never been coached before and that is what we are doing. We will try and make our Indian players better and that takes good coaching and I don’t think they had had that in the years gone by,” he had said after SCEB’s loss to Mumbai.

The former Liverpool striker observed that individual errors that cost his side the points and is now looking for Indian as well as foreigner whom he could sign in the January transfer window.

“In all honesty, I will love to have them (more reinforcement) in all areas of the park. But I can’t complain because we have what we have. Individual errors have cost us,” Fowler said in a release on Friday.

Fowler said his comments on his side’s Indian contingent was used out of context and wants more consistency from his players.

“I obviously didn’t mean to disrespect anyone. There are lots of good Indian players around, but their understanding of the game can always be better. We have a certain philosophy and we’re trying to get all our players accustomed to it. My comment has been used out of context on social media. We’re very happy with the squad and the players will get better with time. We have each other’s back,’ Fowler said.

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