Kolkata: Ahead of the Kolkata derby, Mohun Bagan's mercurial forward Sony Norde on Thursday praised arch-rivals East Bengal who are on a five-match winning streak.
"East Bengal are playing well at the moment and deserve to be on top of the I-League," Norde told reporters on the sidelines of Bagan's practice in Kolkata.
East Bengal play Mohun Bagan on 12 February at Siliguri, West Bengal.
The nippy Haitian, who was part of his national squad in the Copa America last year, added that competition is healthy as Bagan cannot occupy pole position every year.
"It's good because now the actual competition will start. If Mohun Bagan are on top every year, it's not good for the game. We will have to pull up our socks and give our best to win all the matches," Norde said.
East Bengal beat Mumbai FC 2-0 to notch up their fifth straight win at the Barasat Stadium on Wednesday and head coach Trevor Morgan would look to emulate his 2010-11 record of an unbeaten run of six games.
East Bengal got the better of Mumbai after four years, having last beaten them in 2013 January.
Updated Date: Feb 02, 2017 18:22 PM