Defending champions Mohun Bagan AC started the 2016 season of the I-League with a 3-1 home victory over newcomers Aizawl FC, but Mariners coach Sanjoy Sen believes that this was one of the toughest matches of his career.

Mohun Bagan took to the field without a bunch of big names, with some of their new acquisitions yet to arrive in the club, and the likes of Lenny Rodrigues and Balwant Singh suffering injuries in the final practice before the match.

“I think this is one of the toughest matches in my coaching life,” said Sen in the post match press conference. “The difficulty with which we came out to play todayai??i??s game — a number of players were busy in their office matches. We canai??i??t do anything about that.

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“We also had injuries on the last day of practice, as Lenny Rodrigues and Balwant had to be withdrawn from our plans. And I was having a really difficult time to put together the 18 players for the match.

“This is why it was one of the most toughest matches that Iai??i??ve had in my coaching life, and Iai??i??m really happy that weai??i??ve earned the three points.”

Sen also said that the fact that Aizawl were relatively unknown made his job as a coach much more difficult.

“As for the match, our opponents of course played far better football than us, and their passing game was quite enjoyable,” he said. “But we got the three points that we wanted, and weai??i??ll look into the mistakes that we made later, and improve on them.”

ISL is a vacation for foreign coaches, says Sen

Mohun Bagan’s 23-year-old sensation Souvik Chakraborty had excelled in the right-back position at Delhi Dynamos FC in the Indian Super League (ISL), under the stewardship of Brazil legend Roberto Carlos. However, Sen played Souvik in the heart of the midfield in the I-League opener, and seemed quite irked at the suggestion that the player had excelled as a fullback in the ISL.

“Roberto Carlos played him [Souvik] at the position that he liked, and I will play him as it suits my team,” said Sen. “Just because Roberto Carlos played him at right back, doesnai??i??t mean that I have to too.

“They [ISL coaches] donai??i??t have any pressure on them. Theyai??i??ve came here to have fun, earn money, and we drool all over the big names, so we donai??i??t have anything to learn from them.

“We know our Indian players a lot better than them. Theyai??i??ve [ISL foreign coaches] come here with nothing at stake. Its like theyai??i??ve come to india on a tour for two and a half months. Now theyai??i??ve gone after playing their own way. As for my players, I will play them in a much better way than them.”