Carles Cuadrat won an ISL title with Bengaluru FC, while playing a dominating brand of football that made them the neutrals’ team for a while. Now, he has taken on a far bigger challenge, tasked with restoring East Bengal – one of Indian football’s Big Two, historically – to former glories. His tenure has started with a Super Cup win and there is plenty of optimism in the air as they approach the climactic stages of the ISL season. Excerpts from an exclusive interview with Boria Majumdar, RevSportz’ editor-in-chief.
Boria: Tremendous impact so far. Tell me about the journey so far?
Cuadrat: I am happy that East Bengal have unleashed their full potential against Mohun Bagan. It is important for football in India and for the people of this city.
Boria: Tell me about the Super Cup win. What did that mean to you?
Cuadrat: It meant a lot! I can see from the people what that meant for them. They were like, finally, I as an East Bengal fan have something to be proud of. I saw people very emotional.
Boria: What did you do to the team and how difficult was it?
Cuadrat: It is not a magic, only work and work, lot of trainings and tactics! But the main thing in this club is to make the people believe. I understand the mentality of everybody around – means the management of the club, supporters, and players. We all worked in the same direction and everybody believed that the trophy was possible.
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Boria: Before the ISL derby, even Mohun Bagan fans were saying that East Bengal were favourites. So, suddenly did that put extra pressure on you?
Cuadrat: No, I have managed pressure well. I played games for Barcelona (youth teams) against Real Madrid when I was 10 years old. So, I have been in this kind of scenario and understand the pressure. It is easy to fight against pressure when you are very close to the thing that will make you happy, and maybe, it was there to happen.
Boria: What is your vision for East Bengal for the next one month?
Cuadrat: The club is doing things very well. We have never won the I-League and then came to a new division, not with good players. So, for me, it was clear to the club that I need this project and need three years.
Boria: You are also trying to develop Indian talents. Can you tell us about that?
Cuadrat: That is important. Clubs are spending so much money on players so they can get good quality players in their academy. It makes everything logical. It takes time. Here, I believe 2-3 players can make it to the national team.
Boria: After the Super Cup win, when you saw fans with such joy, passion, what did that mean to you?
Cuadrat: It is unforgettable. I saw them, they were crying, and that made me cry too! It is the City of Joy, and I completely understand the emotions of the fans.
Boria: Message for the fans? Still, East Bengal are outside the top six in the ongoing ISL.
Cuadrat: First of all, I am grateful for all the love and support. We have a lot of work to do. Still a lot of games to play. Playoffs look far away, but we will look to create situations to be in the top six. But, if it is not happening this season, it will next season. We are building for the future. I expect that you guys understand that you can not be always successful. But if you are (heading) in the right direction, you will be. So, I am optimistic that we are heading in the right direction.
Joy, East Bengal!
Watch the Full Interview here:
Carles Cuadrat Exclusive:
“When I was growing up, Barcelona didn’t win anything for 10 years. I understand what this trophy means” – @eastbengal_fc head coach @CarlesCuadrat reflects back on the #KalingaSuperCup glory, derby win after many years and the reception and the love… pic.twitter.com/jmpPbAu04E
— RevSportz (@RevSportz) February 13, 2024