Robbie Fowler
Robbie Fowler

Derbies are huge games: Fowler excited ahead of clash against ATK Mohun Bagan

ANI | Updated: Nov 26, 2020 13:23 IST

Goa [India], November 26 (ANI): SC East Bengal head coach Robbie Fowler is excited ahead of the clash against ATK Mohun Bagan and said "derbies are huge games".
There is, perhaps, no better match for Fowler to begin his stint in India than the Indian Super League's (ISL) first-ever Kolkata derby, slated to take place on Friday. The man is, after all, the king of derbies.
His playing record is glorified with memorable derby moments. From scoring the winner in his very first Merseyside derby (Liverpool vs Everton), finding the net multiple times in the Manchester derby while playing for Manchester City, and even managed to create a goal in the Pennines derby -- Manchester United versus Leeds United.
The difference is, this time though, the 45-year-old will be in the dugout, in his new job as the ring-master for SC East Bengal.
"The derbies are huge games. They mean a lot to the fans and of course, they mean a lot to the players. But the important thing is you got to go into them and try to use your head. You got to try and be sensible. In these types of games, the players can't get carried away. You will dive into tackles, you will get too enthusiastic. So in this case, let's try and play sensibly," Fowler said.

Fowler believes this derby is significant for him, not only because of the momentum such games can generate but also because it is his and his club's debut in the ISL. And he knows the importance of getting off to a winning start.
"It's a massive game not because we are playing ATK Mohun Bagan, it's important to us because it's our first game as a team. It's a big game. It's huge for the fans. It's probably one of the biggest games in India. But it's also a chance for us to go out there and show everyone what type of team we are. The type of game where we can show our identity and what we are working on, on the training pitch," he said.
Fowler believes a late start to pre-season means his team will be at a disadvantage. But he also said that his team won't be short on motivation and work ethic.
"It's an incredibly tough game for us to start. We are massively behind all the teams in terms of preparations. Massively behind in terms of playing games. ATKMB have played a game and we haven't, so we are coming into the season relatively new. No one has a clue how we are going to play, what type of team we are. It's up to us now to go out there and set a bit of a marker. We can do that. Because we got a great work ethic, a great team spirit. The players' attitudes are absolutely first class. We can't wait to get started. It's been a long time. We have done all the work. We have come so far and we are ready."
And while there will be no fans at the stadium to cheer his team on, Fowler said that he can feel their support even from afar.
"We know how well we are supported," Fowler said, adding that "We know the fans can't be there. Certainly not in person. But I have no doubt that in spirit, they are going to be there 120 per cent with us. We can feel the support. We can feel the love. We as a staff and we as a team are very grateful for the support and I hope that will continue. There will be a day when supporters are back in and until that day comes, we will quietly go by what we need to do. We will be playing not only for the great shirt that we wear but also for the fans who are instrumental in a lot of things this club does." (ANI)