Chandigarh, Feb 19: After suffering a defeat at home to East Bengal, Minerva Punjab FC will look to come back to winning ways and get closer to the I-League silverware when they take on seventh-placed Gokulam Kerala FC at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium here on Tuesday.
Gokulam are in blazing form after beating both the Kolkata powerhouses in successive fixtures. They humbled Mohun Bagan 2-1 in Kolkata and then dented Red & Golds’ title aspirations by the same margin in Kozhikode.
Gokulam’s red hot form can seen from the fact that they have collected a total of 12 points in their last five outings.
Minerva Punjab Head Coach Wangkhem Khogen Singh was asked about his team’s performance against East Bengal where they lost a tightly fought contest by one goal.
“It was a good game indeed. We fought but unluckily we lost the match. The upcoming match against Gokulam is very important and we have already convinced our boys how important this match is for the I-League title. If we take 3 points in this match then we are on top,” Singh said.
“The boys need to understand this and they will give 100% in the match. In this league, the lower team or upper team doesn’t make any difference. Now we are in a tight situation. The title is close to our hands. But still, we need to work to get it,” he added.
Khogen Singh added he wants to make some changes in his squad to ensure a favourable result as the tactical decision to play Gagandeep as a left back against East Bengal didn’t yield favourable results.
“We think the guy who played against us on our left side was strong and speedy too. We thought Bali can take him on since he is good in marking the players.We want to change one or two players from the last game we played but it’s not finalised.”
The home team’s centre back Sukhdev is very positive before the upcoming match and said, “Our chances are good. We have played fewer matches than both East Bengal and Neroca. We are also playing our next match at home.”
Meanwhile, Gokulam boss Bino George said that playing in the top flight league and rubbing shoulders with the country’s premier clubs provides his boys much-needed experience which will prove to be worthwhile in the future.
“As for my team, all our young boys are gathering huge experience from each game. Playing in Hero I-League will give them experience which they don’t have at the moment,” George said.
“Minerva Punjab and East Bengal are fighting for the championship. We have no pressure. We will fight and try to play a better game. That is only my aim. Minerva is a good side. Kerala badly needed an I-League for last 6 years and finally, we have one. Before the start of the season our target was mid-table finish so we are focusing on it”, he concluded.