New Delhi [India], February 13 (ANI): Mohammedan SC will face a tricky test in their search for crucial points when they will meet the Indian Arrows at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) in Kolkata on Sunday.
Mohammedan SC broke their four-match winless run in their last game and returned to winning ways as they beat Gokulam Kerala 2-1 in a mid-table clash. The Black Panthers now sit in fourth place on the table with 10 points from six games. With the first stage of the league closing soon, Jose Hevia's side needs nothing short of three points to hold their place in the top six of the I-League.
Speaking with journalists at the virtual press conference, head coach Hevia said, "We played a good game against Gokulam Kerala. Every win is important, and for sure, the victory against them (Gokulam) will help us in our fight for the top six."
"The players need to carry on this momentum now. We have to reach our best form yet, but it is an ongoing process. Our goal for the season is winning the I-League. But, right now, we need to focus on short-term target and that is Indian Arrows in the next game," he added.
Alongside Churchill and Real Kashmir, Mohammedan SC are on a six-match unbeaten run. Addressing the same, coach Hevia said, "It is good to see the fantastic work the players have done while defending. The players are going to carry forward the same approach we have followed so far. Hopefully, we can add a few goals and carry on this streak as much as possible," he added.
Defender Arjit Bagui, who was also present in the presser said, "We won the last game. The players are happy and in a good headspace now. We need to keep putting in such performances and winning games in our hunt for a top-six position."
The Indian Arrows put up a spirited display against RoundGlass Punjab in their last match and head coach Shanmugam Venkatesh will be hoping for similar positive performances from his boys in the remaining games of the league stage.
Speaking at the virtual pre-match press conference, Venkatesh said, "We went two goals down to RoundGlass Punjab, but the boys never gave in. They scored one and fought till the end. That is a positive aspect. The boys have gained much confidence. More importantly, they are enjoying playing bigger opponents."
"Mohammedan SC is a big name in Indian Football. They have a rich history and footballing heritage. It is a huge privilege to face them and the boys will be up for the fight. Our boys are technically good and have the stamina to run for 90 minutes. We need to bank on these strengths and give them a good fight."
This will be the first match this season that the Arrows will play at the iconic Salt Lake Stadium. Sharing his thoughts on the same, coach Venkatesh, a former Blue Tigers captain himself, said, "The Salt Lake Stadium is my favourite ground. It is always a good feeling to play against a strong opponent in a stadium with a good field and facilities. I am sure the boys will enjoy playing the game at this historic venue."
Midfielder Vellington Fernandes, who returned into the starting 11 in the last game and scored the goal for the Indian Arrows, was also present alongside his manager.
"Playing against such a big team with experienced players in the I-League at such a young age is a big opportunity. After the last game, we have been training well and enjoying our football. We are building on this positivity in our preparations against Mohammedan SC," he said. (ANI)