Northeast United travel to the Fatorda to play the second leg of Semi-final 2 against ATK Mohun Bagan. Ahead od the crucial fixture Interim head coach Khalid Jamil and assistant coach Alison Kharsyntiew interacted with the media and here are a few quotes from the press-conference.
Coach Khalid was asked about the areas where his team needs to focus more on and also about the importance of the game. “We have to focus on getting the result as it is a do one die game. We will aim to be positive and go for it,” he said.
ATK Mohun Bagan are a physical side and they played a physical game in the first leg. On being asked about his plan going into tomorrow’s match, Coach Khalid said, “They have their planning and we have ours. We have shown in our last 2 encounters with them that we can adapt our game to match theirs. Rest, we will give our best for the game tomorrow,”
As the former Aizawl FC manager told us that is will be a do or die game for both the sides, he further expressed his views on game tomorrow and said, “Both sides have to push for the winner as there is no away goal rule this time, so I am expecting this match to be an open game,”
The 43 years old also stressed on the importance of starting the game on the front foot. “Of course in a double header like this, teams may start off on a cautious note. With all to play for in the next leg, I expect a much more open game. We will look to go out on a positive note,”
The Highlanders had very few chances to capitalise on in the first leg but Coach Khalid has moved on from the first leg and is focusing on the second leg. “We are not thinking about the last game. This match will be like an eliminator and we know that the winner of this match will earn a place in the final. This is good motivation for the boys,”
When asked about if he will risk his Jamaican Striker, the former Mohun Bagan coach said, “With Brown, like I said we will assess and decide what’s the best course of action,”
On being asked about why he did not start the first leg with Idrissa Sylla in Brown absence, he said, “Idrissa Sylla too was unfortunately not at 100% for the last game. We didn’t want to risk him from the start but when it mattered he came on did the job. He is a quality player and is an excellent option for coaches to have,”
Coach Khalid was asked if there’s an added pressure for his side going into tomorrow’s game, he said, “There is always pressure but I have told the boys to enjoy this pressure. Both teams have to fight for a result because of no away goals, so it is the same for our opponent as well,”
Coach Khalid was asked if there’s anything he wants to change tactically after the first leg ane he said, “We will have to create more scoring opportunities and put them under pressure. One team will have to outscore the other in this one as a draw will create the added load of 30 minutes,”
The Highlanders’ interim head coach was asked about the mood in the dressing room, “The players are motivated and they have been doing a great job so far. I am sure if they continue the same, we will go the distance and even if we don’t there is nothing to be ashamed about. They have made everyone proud and that’s the important thing,” he qouted.
The former Indian international was also asked about the psychological factor of his side ahead of tomorrow game and how difficult it is to play against ATK Mohun Bagan.
“If you see for far, we have played thrice against them and have lost 1, won 1 and drawn 1, so I would not consider them having any competitive edge over us.” and he signed off.
The Highlanders’ latest import Deshorn Brown missed out from the matchday squad for th first leg and giving us an update on him, Coach Alison said, “He has joined training over the last couple of sessions and his situation is being assessed by the medical team,”
Coach Alison Kharsyntiew also gave us the team news and said, “Provat Lakra has left the camp recently due to an injury. He will undergo surgery and focus on his rehab this month. Rest of the squad is available for the match,”
If the second leg ends in a draw, the match will be decided through extra-time and penalties. Coach Alison told us about if they are ready to face such a scenario. “Yes, we have to be prepared for the scenario of an extra 30 mins or penalties at the end of this match,” he added.