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Win is like oxygen: Aloke

Calcutta: While Mohun Bagan coach Aloke Mukherjee said their 109th Chlor-Mint IFA Shield victory was a joint effort of “all my units, including me, my players, my trainer and even masseur,” East Bengal coach Subhas Bhowmick said “that’s it, they’ll get no more from me this year.”

The mood was obviously different at either end, but Mukherjee admitted that “this win was absolutely essential for me and my team. It is like oxygen for our players, or our very existence would have been threatened.” He said he did change the complexion of the match a bit in the second session with a change in strategy that “is derived from the fine relation that exists between me and my players.”

Mukherjee has never denied that he has taken good advice from the likes of Jose Ramirez Barreto. He says it is good to have this two-way thing.

He admitted that Mehtab’s miss was too bad and could have cost the team the match. However, he refused to admit that Sanjeev Maria has been found wanting in the defence. “Mark my words,” he said, “Maria will one day be one of the best defenders in the country.”

Goalkeeping coach Atanu Bhattacharya said he was happy to see how well Dora has shaped up and how well he took up the shootouts and got the club the victory. Bhowmick said: “We could actually have won 3-1, but the misses were there, and this should be a lesson. We believe we have seen the end of all this, and there will be no more slips for East Bengal.”

He, of course, did not find Alvito D’Cunha’s foul a happy affair. “This I cannot condone,” he said. “The player concerned should be fined,” he said with usual candour.

Alvito, himself, was alone, teary-eyed. “I was feeling better, so I asked to be fielded,” he said. “But, then, where did I get to play'” he believed it wasn’t a fair decision.

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