New Delhi: Dempo midfielder Clifford Miranda on Wednesday branded rivals East Bengal as the favourites to win this season's I-League. The two teams will face each other in the country's top flight on Saturday. The India international, who played a key role in the country's Nehru Cup triumph, said that there was no animosity between the two teams.
"There is no animosity. They are a great side and I have immense respect for their coach Trevor Morgan. Honestly, I believe they are the favourites to win the title this time. Rivalry is not a big issue. We need to remember that in a Marathon League, one loss or a win won't win any the title," said Miranda. He stressed on the importance of making a good start to the league. "It's very important to start the season on a high. We have been late starters before but as we did last season, we are off to a good start. No doubt, it's a very positive sign. It gives you the right kind of impetus to surge forward," added Miranda.
Talking about life without Nigerian striker Ranti Martins, who left in the summer to join Prayag United, he said: "He is a goal machine, a natural goalscorer. It would be wrong to say we don't miss him though we are playing well as a unit. He was an integral part of the team and his contribution to the club can never be demeaned. On behalf of Dempo I wish him all the luck for the future. He was a real asset."