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East Bengal focused on bright start in I-League 

New Delhi, Nov 21 (IANS) East Bengal head coach Khalid Jamil said on Tuesday his side will go step by step in the I-League 2017-18 edition and at the moment the focus is on getting a good start.

Jamil, who helped Aizawl FC clinch their maiden I-League title in the previous season, was roped in by the Kolkata football giants for a record Rs 2 crore earlier this year.

“We need a good start in the I-League, then we will go step by step,” the 40-year-old Jamil, who was born in Kuwait to Indian parents, told IANS. 

“The preparation is going good, we have to play good and get positive result. We played a few practice matches earlier, now we are focused on the real match,” Jamil , who has turned out for India on seven occasions, added. 

East Bengal captain Arnab Mondal also emphasised on getting the results right in the initial matches and said winning the Calcutta Football League (CFL) earlier this year has been a boost for the side.

“We have played some practice matches earlier, we have started with some practice matches,” the key centre-back of the side said. 

“We have won the CFL, we want to get to a good start, let’s see what happens,” Mondal added. 

The former Atletico de Kolkata player also said he wants East Bengal to match the coach’s expectation and as a captain he will make sure his side does not feel the pressure on and off the field.

“The coach makes certain plans, we need to go on the field and match the same, the first two-three matches in the league are important,” the India player said. 

“I want East Bengal to start well and we can carry momentum from there on. As a captain my aim is to handle any kind of situation on and off the field, I want to keep my players motivated and make sure they do not come under any pressure. 

“Ups and downs in football can happen, I don’t want my players to react on it, we all know the kind of pressure Kolkata clubs have. I want to make sure my side comes over it,” Mondal, who won the Indian Super League (ISL) title with Atletico de Kolkata last year added. 

East Bengal, who finished third in the last edition, will take on I-League defending champions Aizawl in their opening fixture on November 28.

(Samrat Chakraborty can be contacted at samrat.c@ians.in)

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