NorthEast United FC will be gunning for revenge over Kerala Blasters, who defeated them in their opening encounter of the second edition of the Hero Indian Super League.
NorthEast United FC, on a three-match unbeaten streak, welcome Kerala Blasters as they eye not only revenge but also a spot at the top of the table. The recent upturn in fortunes for the side from Guwahati has coincided with the marquee player Simao who has recovered from his injuries. Cesar Farias, though, opted caution in the pre-match press conference despite looking to extend the unbeaten run.
a All victories and losses are in the past. We are focusing only on this game, which is different and one where all our players are available. When we played Kerala, we missed eight players and we were playing our debut game. Tomorrow, whoever shows up with the best attitude will win and we hope that it will be us.a
NorthEast United, who lost their opening three encounters, lie fifth in the standings and a victory over Kerala Blasters can help them leapfrog quite a number of opponents to the top of the table. The NorthEast United manager though isna t ready to look forward to the numbers and instead prefers to focus on the match.
a We have to take everything step by step, game by game. The focus now is solely on Kerala Blasters. The team is enjoying its good moments and we have to make the best out of it. We have to take the field with the same intensity as the last three matches. This game is like a final for us. These are very important three points.a
Having navigated past all but one of the away fixtures, NorthEast United manager Farias termed it to be aa big positivea , as they look to confirm their spot in the semis.
Despite a change in management, Kerala Blasters are still struggling at the foot of the table but newly appointed head coach Terry Phelan isna t ready to throw in his towel for a spot in the playoffs yet.
a We have been playing some good football in the last couple of matches and hopefully we can keep going,a said Phelan.
Assistant coach Trevor Morgan too isna t ready to lose hope for a spot in the semi-finals, as he refused to admit defeat unless it wasna t mathematically impossible.
a We know the position that we are in. We will try to get three points and there will not be any negativity. We have to win four of our last five games. If we do not do that, it will be very, very difficult. Of course in football anything is possible. Unless ita s mathematically impossible, we have to keep believing we can do it,a said Morgan.
Phelan, though, confirmed the signing of Deepak Mondal as a replacement for Gurwinder Singh, as he respected NorthEast United for being able to turn around their fortunes
a NorthEast United is a good team. They have confidence at the moment and some great players. You cannot afford to switch off. You cannot sit back. We have to take the game forward and take the three points,a said Phelan, who confirmed that new signing Deepak Mondal is available for selection.
Image Courtesy: ISL Media