Placed at the bottom of the table after suffering four losses on the trot, NorthEast United go into a make or break clash against Atletico de Kolkata at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium on Thursday. However, Vingada knows that the short season and tight table means that three points can take them into fourth place by the end of the evening.
'The Professor' as Vingada is fondly known, gave a reality check that he hopes his team will understand by the time they take the field at Kolkata. With the league heading into the business end of things his team and he become more realistic of what is expected of them,
“You know, no one remembers the past. Our defeats were when we made good performances, like the game against Mumbai. I tell them that we need to revive and keep our concentration. This team that lost the last game was the same team that kept winning all the opening games, so I tell them that.
“We made mistakes in the initial games, but we were lucky. The players need to realise that as well, I encourage them to play good, positive football and we need to play for the results now. We need to be more realistic. We lost the last match in the 95th minute, and that has put us in an uncomfortable position, but the players and I need to be more pragmatic now.”
Mistakes at crucial positions hurting the team
A plethora of mistakes on both sides of the pitch has left them ruing the opportunities of having cemented a place in the final four of the tournament for the first team in the Indian Super League. And the man from Portugal is taking every step to better the psyche of the team.
“Maybe, but you see these mistakes are what makes football attractive. John Terry makes mistakes; Manuel Neuer makes mistakes, so that happens. If it happens once or twice, it's okay, but it has happened too many times for us. Maybe sometimes my players stop thinking and maybe they should act more responsibly, but it's okay. We are looking into it.”
After jetting to the top of the table at the end of four games, Vingada has seen his team come crashing the down. Five losses in the last seven and four in as many games coming into the match have taken a huge toll on them on the table as the players psychologically.
Taking the game against Goa as example, in which they let the home side, that was riddled with injuries and suspensions back into the match and eventually win it,
“We are not making tactical mistakes or anything. We are not making massive blunders, but we are not getting the results we want either. I can tell you now that we are working more on the psychological side of things rather than on the tactical side.
“For example, in that game against Goa, we created so many chances, had 18 shots on target but scored only one goal when we should have scored 2 or 3. But that's okay, that's part of the game, but tomorrow we will go in stronger, we have injured players getting fit again, and Alfaro's suspension is over, so we shall see what we can do tomorrow.”
NorthEast don’t have not have any issues regarding either injuries or suspensions and thus will not have any excuses to fall back upon as they head into the crucial tie. Vingada will be hoping that with Alfaro back in the lineup and Nico Velez nearing full fitness, the Highlanders will finally get it right.