It’s either make it or break it for Northeast United FC who sit just out the top four as they take on their eastern neighbours SC East Bengal in their 19th fixture of the ongoing season.
Coach Alison Kharsyntiew and Imran Khan addressed the media ahead of the their clash against the Red and Golds and here are a few qoutes from the pre-match press conference.
SC East Bengal try to capitalise on long throw-ins and were rewarded a goal as ATK Mohun Bagan scored an own goal in the Kolkata derby and Coach Alison told us about how his side are planning to address this. “We have to play very well tomorrow. We have to defend well, attack well and we have to create chances and utilise our chances and have to give 100 percent effort from everyone,” he qouted
The Highlanders’ talisman Federico Gallego was not available for the their previous match against Chennaiyin and even Ashutosh Mehta is doubtful for tomorrow’s match. Giving us update on both of them, the 34 year old stated, “The medical team is working very hard to get them back in action as soon as possible,”
SC East Bengal haven’t had a great debut season in the Indian Top flight and expressions his thoughts on their opponents Coach Alison said, “We know that in the last game they lost 3-1 against [ATK] Mohun Bagan. This is game we cannot take easily, we should come with full character, play our best and give our effort in the 90 minutes and hopefully we get the three points,”
SC East Bengal’s main man is Bright Enobakhare and he’s the one who starts the attacks. When asked about if they have any special plans to stop Bright, the former Shillong Lajong FC manager said, “We have to defend well, and not give him time on the ball and space to operate. We have to work well, defend as a team and make sure we don’t give them any chance,”
The ISL’s business end is almost around the corner and if Northeast United win both of the their remaining fixtures, they will secure a play off berth. On being asked about if the the team is under pressure to win both the games, the Highlanders’ assistant coach said, “We’ll concentrate on our game tomorrow and then think about the last game against Kerala Blasters. But, tomorrow is very important for us and we will go step by step,”
The Highlanders have uplifted themselves after the departure of Gerard Nus and Coach Alison defined their entire season and said, “I think we work well as a team with everyone trying to encourage each other and also coach Khalid has motivated the team alot. We work as a team as it is all about team work,” he stated.
Imran Khan replaced Federico Gallego in the starting XI against Chennaiyin FC in what was his first ever Hero ISL start and also scored the opening goal for Northeast United and on being asked about how it felt, the midfielder said, “It’s a great feeling to score a goal and I am really happy. We played really well and I am looking forward,”
It is Imran Khan’s debut Hero ISL season and when asked about his experience with Northeast United so far, th 26 year old said “I’m really enjoying it here. Everyday, I am learning and the coach always pushes me in training. I want to work hard to be better.” and he signed off.