East Bengal coach Alejandro Menendez steps down after derby defeat


Sports, Football

A string of three defeats in the I League proved to be the last straw for the Spaniard

The East Bengal football club

Kolkata: East Bengal head coach Alejandro Menendez on Tuesday stepped down citing "personal reasons" less than 48 hours after his team lost the I-League derby 1-2 to arch-rivals Mohun Bagan.

The Spaniard faced a lot of criticism after East Bengal suffered three defeats but the one against Mohun Bagan was the final nail in his coffin.

East Bengal currently have eight points from seven matches. Arch-rivals Mohun Bagan lead the standings with 17 from eight.

With Mohun Bagan merging with ATK from next season, Sunday's clash was their penultimate derby exchange in the I-League era, and the defeat proved to be the last straw.

"The head coach has expressed his desire to relocate to his home country Spain for personal reasons. He will step down with immediate effect," East Bengal stated in a release.

Under the former Real Madrid Castilla coach, East Bengal finished runners-up in 2018-19 and were third in the Calcutta Football League Premier Division as the red-and-gold had a trophy-less season and failed to win a title in the I-League.

"I am happy about the progress the club has made during my tenure as head coach and I wish to see the new leadership to take this to the next level. I enjoyed my duration with the club and wish the team and the fans all the best," Menendez said after his exit.

In his absence, the other coaching staff will continue to train the team until a new head coach is appointed. East Bengal will play Chennai City away on Saturday.

Commenting on the Spaniard's exit, East Bengal investors Quess Corp CEO Subrata Nag said, "We admire the leadership of the coach and the significant professional changes he brought at QEBFC in such a short period of time. He has led the team in the right direction, and we thank the coach for his contribution to the club and wish him much success for the future."