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Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen: We will play for a win

Sanjoy Sen (Mohun Bagan AC)

Sanjoy Sen (Mohun Bagan AC)

Who doesn’t fantasize of romantic and fairytale endings in the cosmology of Football? Who doesn’t have a fetish of seeing Champions getting pummeled by the challenger? And who doesn’t dream of a title-decider between two of the best Teams in the country? And that is what’s in store for the myriads of Hero I-League fans on Sunday (May 31, 2015).

After 13 long years, title aspirants Mohun Bagan AC stand on the verge of being crowned Champions of Hero I-League; that is if they manage to draw or defeat current Champions Bengaluru FC at the Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru on what has turned into the grand finale of the ‘holy grail of Indian Football.’

With tensions boiling and history on the course of being re-written again, AIFF Media caught up with Mohun Bagan’s Head Coach Sanjoy Sen and conversed at length about his squad’s preparation for the final match, handling the immense pressure, Bagan’s aim for the last match and a lot more.


You go into the final match with a two point lead over Bengaluru FC. How do you define that?
It’s a double edged sword. It’s an advantage because we are currently at the top of Hero I-League and that is bound to inspire us. At the same time it’s a disadvantage because Bengaluru FC have nothing to lose and will play with their natural game. You never know, it may hurt us.

Bagan only need a draw to crown themselves as Hero I-League Champions. Will you apply ‘park-the-bus’ tactics?
Never! We will play for a win. If we play with a defensive mindset then we have already lost the battle before it has begun. Committing bodies behind the ball is bound to leak goals and that is something we will not do. We will adapt an attacking approach and see how it pans out.

Bengaluru FC have big match players. How do you thwart them?
If we play together as a Team we have the capacity to subdue anybody. That said Bagan and Bengaluru FC are two of the most consistent Teams in Hero I-League and we have to be wary of them. It will certainly not be a walk in the park for us – we will have to be at the best of our abilities.

Bagan defeated Bengaluru FC 4-1 last time around. Do you think it will play as a psychological advantage?
I don’t think there will be any psychological advantage. It is a new match, a chance for both Teams to garner a win and we will play it as so.

Any pre-match jitters?
Everyone present within the Bagan squad is aware of the significance of the match. If there is any pressure then the Players need to absorb it. We have worked hard to reach this point and we hope to see it through. We just need to emulate our best selves and play like we have in the Hero I-League, all season long.

What was your mantra behind this monumental run?
I would attribute it to our team spirit. We played good Football in the Hero Federation Cup and we started to build our Team from there. I knew that my Team had the potential and I had mentioned of being title aspirants at the very start. For that we needed to play together as Team and in coordination with each other. Team is above any individual.

What happened in between? Were you choking?
The Hero I-League is a marathon one and scenarios like this happen. What matters is that we showed strength of character and bounced back to grab our opportunity. When you are downtrodden you need display your mettle and strength and we did just that.

Over the last two matches, Bagan’s opening goals have come via set pieces. That must have made you happy.
We have practiced them regularly during training and I think hard work that we had put in, paid off in those two matches. But we can’t always rely on them to provide us goals.