Calcutta: Coach Trevor James Morgan may disagree, but inability to secure full points against Churchill Brothers, on Saturday, at the Salt Lake Stadium, will serve as a big setback for East Bengal as far as their staying in the I-League championship race is concerned.
Although the difference between the two teams at present is of one point, the fact is Churchill are in a much better form, having won their last five matches. Besides, they are ahead of East Bengal even though they have played two matches less than the latter.
For East Bengal, the tale lately has been more like win or get busted. The red-and-gold brigade won three and lost two in their previous five matches, which only indicates they have not been very consistent.
Therefore, Churchill may just have an edge on the basis of current form.
Precisely, this inconsistency midway into the I-League has been one of the main reasons behind East Bengal failing to win the title in the previous two editions, despite being on commanding position.
Morgan, though, doesn't view this as a concern. "I don't think there's anything wrong with the confidence. Of course, circumstances will be entirely different tomorrow than when we had played them (Churchill) in the first phase. So it won't be easy for us this time around.
"That said, on maintaining a low key and doing whatever that's required, we can certainly have our way since we're aware of the threats they can pose.
"Obviously, the gap between us and Churchill will increase further if we can't beat them. But that doesn't mean this game is a decider. There are still quite a few important matches remaining," Morgan said after Friday's training session.
However, according to Mehtab Hussain, East Bengal have everything to play for on Saturday. "If we can't win this game, I don't think we'll have any chance of a shot at the trophy. It's a must-win tie for us," he stressed.