Emami East Bengal will look to continue their high-flying run under new coach Carles Cuadrat when they face NorthEast United in the semifinal of the Durand Cup 2023 at the Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday. The Red-and-Gold brigade has finished in the bottom three of the Indian Super League in the last three seasons. But it is looking like they have finally found their demands in Cuadrat. He had previously led Bengaluru FC to the ISL title in his previous stint in Indian Football. "We have a match plan and let's try to win the match…:" the East Bengal coach is positive about going forward against the Highlanders and also opened up about the preparation for the semi-final clash.
"We will try to be competitive again. It's very difficult. Game after game in preseason, a lot of competitive games. Until now, all the games have been narrow margins, only winning for one goal of difference. So, it will be a tough, tough game. But we have a match plan and let's try to win the match," the East Bengal boss expressed his thoughts about the competitiveness of the Durand Cup.
East Bengal defeated arch-rival Mohun Bagan Super Giant after four years. They made their way to the quarterfinals as the Group A topper. Then The Red-and-Gold brigade defeated the 2019 Durand Cup winner, Gokulam Kerala, to secure the spot in the final four. If they pull NEUFC down on Tuesday, they will qualify for the Durand Cup final after 19 years.
It was not an easy journey for them and Carles Cuadrat has transformed the team in just a month. So when he was asked if he was under some extra pressure of leading the team to the final for the first time since 2004, he replied, "No, no, no. It's my first month in the project and we are building something, we are building for the future. You cannot spare that. Still, two games away from the trophy. We, we people say that we are favourites. No, we come from a long distance time without performance and now we are with new players. Getting a new group and trying to do the best that we can do."
It's not overconfidence, of course not because we are suffering to win games against teams that are in the I-league or just promoted, and of course, they are very good teams. Any team has its own weapons to punish you so there are not any small teams," Carles clearly explained that they are not overconfident and it will take time to give constant performances. He also stated that they are not taking any teams lightly.
"We have to think about the full team. They have a very dangerous players. They have also very good foreigners. So yeah, it's a, It's a group work to try to beat them," The East Bengal boss concluded by answering if they are taking any special precautions for the NorthEast United's speedy wingers.