INDIAN FOOTBALL

How will Manuel Diaz turn things around at East Bengal?

Wolves

Last week, Spanish tactician Manuel Diaz took over the role of head manager at East Bengal. Celebrating 101 years of successfully entertaining fans, the Kolkata based club are looking for a fresh start. Commonly known as ‘Manolo’ back at home, Diaz comes with a load of experience.

The 2020/21 season of the Indian Super League had 2 new teams. East Bengal and Mohan Bagan, who were previously in the I-League, were the 2 teams. Mohan Bagan have a fairy tale debut season as they missed out on the top spot of the table merely on goal difference.

East Bengal on the other hand got less than half the points Mohan Bagan did. 3 wins in 20 games sent them to 9th in the league above Kerala Blasters and Odisha FC.

Manuel Diaz comes with an interesting resume. The 53-year-old previously coached Real Madrid at the youth levels. He has perfected his art of nurturing and guiding elite talents in the right direction. But his role at East Bengal calls for a move assertive and persuasive role.

What philosophy does Manuel Diaz impose?

First and foremost, it would be interesting to see how long it would take him to adapt. Indian football is very random apart from clubs like Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin FC. Endless clearances and instinct-based game plans make it very difficult for foreign coaches to execute their plans. However, Spanish coaches like Albert Roca and Carles Cuadrat have shown that if philosophy can be drilled in, the team becomes unplayable.

Diaz will have to get his players to move the ball around and control the games in order to become a real threat. Getting the right players who set the tempo will be vital. With the ISL rules that keep a restriction on the number of foreign places, he will have to make signings at the right positions to get the best results. An interesting season awaits for East Bengal.

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