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ISL 2020-21: We will work towards building a healthy environment in the squad, says Robbie Fowler

Robbie Fowler.
Robbie Fowler.
Modified 10 Oct 2020, 22:17 IST

Indian Super League (ISL) side East Bengal FC manager Robbie Fowler interacted with the press along with assistant coach Anthony Grant today. Robbie Fowler has penned a two-year deal with the Red and Golds subject with an option of extension.

Here are the excerpts from the press interaction:

Robbie Fowler began with his thoughts on taking charge at East Bengal. He said,' ‘East Bengal have an incredible crowd. It is a new identity coming into the ISL but with a 100-year history. We will give everything we have got to make this club as great as possible. We are a little late to the scene but we are taking this as a challenge. I am looking forward to this next new chapter in India. I am sure this will be a great stint.’

‘We know how difficult it has been for football across the world. It is starting to resume across the world. We know how much joy it brings to the people. I was looking at the ISL and SC East Bengal told us that they want to be successful and we are looking to experience the same.’

Speaking on the bio bubble and of games being played behind closed doors, Fowler said, ‘This will be a challenge. Football across the world is starting again. We know what we need and expect. We need to create an environment where the players can enjoy. It is not gonna be familiar. Players need to know that they are here to do their job and we will do what we can to make the players as comfortable as possible in the new setup.’
‘Rivalry helps football. It drives the fans and players. It drives the football club to reach greater heights. We know how important the battle is for the fans. We are aware of the history of the rivalry in the I-League and we will have a new outlook of the same in the ISL. We also know how important games between rivals are and we hope it will be great for the fans as well to watch and enjoy the game,’ opined Robbie Fowler on the Kolkata derby in the ISL.
‘I have followed the ISL. We are football people and we follow all the leagues around the world if possible. It is relatively a new league and it has got better every season. I am looking forward to working with newer players,’ said Robbie Fowler on following the ISL.

East Bengal are the 11th team to join the Indian Super League and have the least amount of time to build a squad and get the roster fit for the league.

‘With football, it is always hard building a team, there have been teams which struggled but also did well in short space of time. It is a challenge. It is important to get the right amount of preparation. It is a challenge to inculcate the right values and ethics in the players. We are looking forward to taking up the challenge,' stressed Robbie Fowler.

‘All ISL teams have started preparation. We are a bit late with the ownership change and player registration. It will always be difficult and we are looking to get the right results. It does not matter if it is a new club or an old club. It is all about being competitive. We want to be competitive and play the right way. We will end until the end of the season to know how successful we are,’ Robbie Fowler said.

Robbie Fowler found success in A-League

Robbie Fowler revolutionised A-League side Brisbane Roar during his stint there in the 2019-20 season. The side gelled well as defensive unit and finished fourth in the league. He spoke eloquently about the philosophy and playing style he wants to implement.

‘My cultural philosophy is for the team to play well. We need to get the right results. We have to work well and hard for each other. We have to build a culture in the team. We have to play possession-based football. We were better than most teams in the A-League and we improved drastically from the previous season in the A-League and we are hoping to replicate the same. Football is all about results and getting the right results is the key,’ Robbie Fowler said.

East Bengal will be Robbie Fowler's third coaching assignment after Muangthong United and Brisbane Roar. He focused on his philosophy and style when asked about his plans in India.

‘I think it will be similar. Thailand and Australia were very good. I would again like to repeat that it is all about having a culture within the team. To play possession football, which we will try to replicate on the training pitch. We need to make our players better. Regardless it is the Premier League, A-League, Thailand or ISL, our job is to make better players and build confidence in the players,' Robbie Fowler said.

‘Renedy Singh’s stature in Indian football is huge. He has been successful as a coach and player in Indian football. He knows the best about the Indian footballers. We have been talking about which Indians to get aboard,' said Robbie Fowler on working with Renedy Singh to recruit Indian players.

‘I am more than satisfied with out Indian players. We are a little bit late. We will have to work harder on the training pitch. When you create an environment, people want to work more, work harder. I think it is important to build a healthy environment.’


East Bengal have signed an array of experienced Premier League personnel as their backroom staff. The Red and Golds become the first ever ISL team to appoint a set-piece specialist to work on the training pitch. Robbie Fowler was all praise for his backroom staff.

‘Tony is a tremendous coach and was a tremendous player. Phillips also has been great. He was great at academy football and also coached at the top level of English Football. Mimms is also an experienced goalkeeping coach. We have got a highly experienced coaching staff and we are hopeful things will fall in place on the training pitch.' Robbie Fowler said.

‘I have been watching ISL over the years and lots of great players came to the ISL. Unfortunately, we have to wait for a year to see the fans in the stadiums. I cannot wait to play in Kolkata and witness the East Bengal fans. We all know how passionate the East Bengal fans are and what football means to them. It becomes a little bit bigger when the fans are here. We know we are in a pandemic but hopefully, all the fans can get in the stadiums and support us.' said Robbie Fowler when asked about East Bengal fans.

‘We will make the squad public in the next week. There are some great Indian and foreign players lined up and we will get to know who they are soon. One thing I can say that our team is full of marquee players. We aim to bring the best out of everyone. Regardless, whatever stature is of the players, we will use the local players, established Indian and foreign names and hope to get the results. You all will be impressed with some of the players we have got.' indicated Robbie Fowler when asked about the roster.

‘East Bengal are the sleeping giants of Indian football. One of the first things we need to do is look after the fan base. We know how passionate the fan base is. We just cannot wait for the new challenge. It is an exciting time for both the fans and us likewise,' Robbie Fowler kept on repeating.

‘I have played with players who have played in the ISL. There are people like Teddy Sheringham, Luis Garcia, David James and Owen Coyle who I know personally. I have not talked with many people but I am open to opinions and advice from people who have experience playing in the ISL,' concluded Robbie Fowler when asked if he has talked with few players and coaches before deciding to come to the Indian Super League.


Published 10 Oct 2020, 22:17 IST
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