Coach Khalid Jamil Friday said Sony Norde would be his ‘key man’ as Mohun Bagan look to avenge their first-leg defeat against East Bengal in the I-League derby on Sunday. The Mariners suffered a 2-3 defeat to their arch-rivals last month, a result that started their downward spiral leading to the departure of coach Shankarlal Chakraborty.
“Sony is my key player. But all the players are important. I stressed on recovery since I took charge. I did not make any major changes. Everyone must give their best. It is important to think positive and get a positive result,” the 41-year-old told reporters.
After taking charge, Jamil, who won the I-League title with Aizawl FC, has guided his side to back-to-back wins over defending champions Minerva Punjab and NEROCA FC.
Jamil said his side would look to get an early goal against East Bengal but the aim would be to keep the intensity high for the full 90 minutes. “With regards to our approach, it depends on the match. If we get an early goal, it’s okay. We have to maintain our concentration for the 90 minutes and be defensively strong,” he said.
Jamil was removed as East Bengal coach last season after the side missed out on the league title and lost the final of the first ever Super Cup. He said he’s not approaching Sunday’s match as a revenge game. “I have come here to help Mohun Bagan and not thinking about revenge. This is an important match. It is our home match and we must get a positive result,” he said.
Jamil also cautioned his team about East Bengal back-line spearheaded by Costa Rican Johnny Acosta. “Their defence is very strong. Their stopper (Acosta) is good. He has played in the World Cup. We have to be watchful.”
Asked about team combination, he said: “If Henry (Kisseka) is fine then probably two strikers can start but I can also go with one striker. I haven’t thought about it.” He further said Sukhdev Singh and Sourav Das are unlikely to be ready for the derby and that Omar Elhusseiny is very much in contention for a start. Arijit Bagui could also be handed a chance in the derby after being rested in the last two matches.