Kolkata: East Bengal may have lost the first leg derby last month but they will start favorites in the return I-League fixture on Sunday, Mohun Bagan coach Shankarlal Chakraborty said on Friday.
Mohun Bagan won by a solitary goal against their arch- rivals last month but since then they have slumped to sixth in the table and have parted with their I-League winning coach Sanjoy Sen.
"East Bengal are way ahead of us," Chakraborty told reporters in the build-up to the derby.
Injuries to key players, including their star striker Sony Norde, have deflated Mohun Bagan's campaign as they have managed just six points from six outings.
"(Whether we are) with or without Sony, East Bengal will start favourites," he said and pointed out that East Bengal have fared better since losing to them.
"You just look at the table. They have lost only one match. Their coach (Khalid Jamil) has a lot of more experience than me, having coached at Mumbai FC before winning I-League for Aizawl FC (last season)," a modest Chakraborty added.
"They have not lost away match. Their team combination from defence to forward is much better than us."
Mohun Bagan have not ruled out Norde for their derby match.
"He has a chance. We are in constant touch with the medical team but we have our plan B in place in case he doesn't recover."
His first derby as a coach, Chakraborty wants to see team doing well.
"I'm not thinking about myself. It's about the team. Everybody stands for the team. The challenge is to win for Mohun Bagan and we will try our best," he signed off.
The Great Diwali Discount!
Unlock 75% more savings this festive season. Get Moneycontrol Pro for a year for Rs 289 only.
Coupon code: DIWALI. Offer valid till 10th November, 2019 .
Updated Date: Jan 19, 2018 19:51:56 IST