East Bengal coach Robbie Fowler is keen to make a mark in the ISL with a unique style of play — a combination of the gegenpress and tiki-taka.
“We want to be a possession-based team, but not have possession just for the sake of it. This is probably where a lot of people get perplexed in terms of how you say you want to play or how you are a long-ball team. In football, it doesn’t matter if the right pass is from five yards or 50 yards out. We want to be a team that keeps the ball, probes the opposition defence and is defensively rock solid,” Fowler told Sportstar.
Elaborating on the club’s bold step in hiring former Blackpool manager Terry McPhillips as a set-piece coach, a concept unheard of Indian football, the Liverpool legend said: “Maybe it is a little bit of a pioneer. But look at Liverpool last year – they had a throw-in coach. Why can’t we have one? We’ve got someone who can benefit us from a defensive point of view and a tactical point of view in terms of corners, free kicks or throw-ins.”
Having been a part of many a derby during his playing days, Fowler understands the sentiments surrounding the Kolkata derby.
“Derbies are derbies, and it is a case of trying to better the opposition. You’ve to play with your head and cannot be just playing with your heart all the time because there will be 11 red cards if that was the case. We know what the derby means, and we know what we need to do,” he said. “There’s going to be millions and millions of people supporting us when we’re playing and it’s up to us to try and give that little bit of spirit back to the fans,” he added.