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ISL 2023-24: East Bengal looking to start ISL campaign on a positive note against Jamshedpur FC

East Bengal will be looking to invoke the form that gave it success early in the season when it starts its ISL-10 campaign by taking on the visiting Jamshedpur FC at the Salt Lake Stadium on Monday.

The home side, which has finished in the League’s bottom three for the last three seasons, is expected to start on a strong note under its new Spanish coach Carles Cuadrat.

The hopes emanated from the way it started the season by reaching the Durand Cup final. Despite losing the title clash by a solitary goal against traditional rival Mohun Bagan SG, East Bengal gave out a statement of its prowess and intent.

Cuadrat admitted that this will provide his team with confidence when it meets the former League Shield winner in Jamshedpur FC.

“It is important that we have started believing in ourselves. We started the season showing good dynamics and now we have to take that to another level and show more consistency,” Cuadrat said before the match.

Jamshedpur FC’s new coach Scott Cooper felt that his side, which has been reorganized before the season, would improve as the tournament progresses.

“This is a team that should gain momentum as the season progresses. We can’t expect everything to fall into place immediately, like some well-established teams like Mohun Bagan or Mumbai City. But we believe we are in a good position and are happy with our current situation,” Cooper said.

Both sides are evenly-placed in their ISL head-to-head record. The two have met previously on six occasions and have two wins each to their credit. The remaining two matches ended in a draw.

The two sides also have their share of injury worries. East Bengal will be missing central defender Jordan Elsey, who has been ruled out with a knee injury, while defender Lalchungnunga is away on national duty.

Jamshedpur has arrived without its midfielder Ritwik Das and forward Petar Sliskovich, who are nursing injuries.

Saying that injuries and suspensions are part of the game, Cooper said that his team’s main objective is to remain consistent over the seasons.

“There was a certain amount of disappointment, although we reached the semifinals of the Super Cup at the end. The year before, we were Shield winners. However, we must consider Jamshedpur’s record over a seven-year period. We’ve only made the playoffs once. So, we need to examine both the Shield-winning season and the six seasons in which we didn’t qualify for the playoffs. We should consider both aspects,” he said.

“If we look at the statistics, the club hasn’t shown consistency over a seven-year period, unlike some other clubs.

To meet the expectations of Jamshedpur fans, we need to bring consistency to the squad and the team. I believe that’s what Jamshedpur fans want to see – not just one good season followed by a long absence,” Copper said about how he wants the team to position itself in the League.

Cuadrat said the team’s objective is to start the season with a win and continue the progress. “Well, of course, we don’t have a lot of information about them (Jamshedpur FC) because they have not been playing any official match till now (with full squad). But it’s not an excuse and we have to prepare and play the match. We have to make a plan and try to have a good game to register the first victory of the season. We have to make a good plan and work to try to beat them,” he said.

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