Habibur Rahman, whose turn it was to address the media in Mohun Bagan's rotational scheme of things, made the point quietly but firmly. "It's not about us being under pressure ahead of a must-win match. It's about putting Churchill Brothers under pressure after we do."
Ahead of Sunday evening's penultimate round I-League clash against Dempo that was exactly the kind of noise Mohun Bagan would want to make to keep title hopes flickering. Convinced that if Mohun Bagan don't fluff their lines leaders Churchill Brothers will, the 60-something fan who braved the afternoon heat to "stir up his team" at the SAI, Eastern Centre, too must have felt happy having heard the wingback speak.
Playing catch-up on matches and points, Mohun Bagan need to win on Sunday to join leaders Churchill Brothers on 43 points. If they do, the battle for the second I-League too will go down to Thursday's last round which Mohun Bagan will play in neutral New Delhi while Churchill Brothers host relegation-threatened Mohammedan Sporting.
"We hope to get three points on Sunday so that the fans can keep dreaming," Mohun Bagan coach Karim Bencherifa said, after a strenuous session where the focus was on using the flanks and attacking and defending set-pieces. Like after Tuesday's AFC Cup tie, Bencherifa rated Dempo as the best team in India and why they are getting noticed in Asia but only after mentioning Mohun Bagan "good record" against the defending champions.
Mohun Bagan could retain the line-up which started on Tuesday. Dempo will have to replace penalised John Dias.