Kolkata, March 9 (IANS) RoundGlass Punjab FC will look to bounce back to winning ways as the Curtis Fleming-coached side faces Mohammedan SC at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) on Wednesday in a must-win clash for both sides as they vie for the I-League title.
RoundGlass Punjab lost narrowly to Gokulam Kerala FC 1-0 in their last match, but the Punjab-based side will be looking to gather three points and propel themselves to challenging for the title. However, that will not be easy as Mohammedan SC stand in their path. The Black Panthers have had troubling results recently and RoundGlass Punjab FC will be looking to cash in on their opponent’s recent slump.
Speaking at the official press conference, head coach Curtis Fleming said, “The mood in the camp is good and I think it has to be, I don’t think one match should change any of the mentality or philosophy. I probably wasn’t happy with the first 45 minutes and I let the lads know that and it did change the mood a little but at the end of the day, those 90 minutes are gone. We learn from them and pick ourselves up and are looking forward to putting things right tomorrow.”
“It is all about the environment and trying to get the message across about what we want to do, we talk about it every day. It is about passing the ball, it is the future of the game. I am very happy that people are complimenting us on the brand of football that we play.”
“Mohammedan SC has done very well. I think we have spoken about Mohammedans before the start of the season as being a legacy club in India. They have a very rich history and with that comes a lot of expectations. They will be looking to bounce back from the last result, it is going to be tough for us,” added Fleming when asked about his opponents.
Defender Anwar Ali has returned from injury and was also present at the press conference, he said, “Injuries are a part of the game. I was very confident about my team because we had lots of young players in my position and they got a chance to prove themselves. I am back and whenever the team needs me, I will be there to help.”
Mohammedan SC were thrashed 4-0 by TRAU courtesy of Bidyashagar Singh’s quick-fire hat-trick. The Black Panthers will surely hope for a better performance against their opponents on Wednesday in a bid to get into the thick of the title race. With 16 points out of 11 matches, Mohammedans are 9 points behind league leaders Churchill Brothers. To keep their hopes alive of lifting the trophy, the Black Panthers have to win on Wednesday.
Speaking at the virtual pre-match press conference, head coach Shankarlal Chakraborty said, “Looking back at the game against TRAU, we had started well but we were destabilised after conceding the first goal. Against TRAU, we made some mistakes and we were not competitive enough to win, but we have to forget that now.
“Players have put the disappointment behind and are fully focused on the upcoming game against Punjab. It is a different match and we will have a new strategy as we need to win. Looking at the team and their commitment in training, I am confident we will do well.”
“It will not be an easy match against Punjab FC. They (Punjab FC) have competitive players and are a very strong opponent for us. We know that it is a tough outing for us but we have to win”, he added.
Firoj Ali, who was also present at the presser, said, “It never feels good when you lose a match like the one against TRAU. Nevertheless, there were positive aspects and we worked on the areas we had mistakes in. We must quickly forget the TRAU result and focus on Punjab FC. They are a strong team on the collective level and a very aggressive opponent but we will do our best to get the three points.”