ISL 2016: All teams in the race for semis, says NEUFC Coach Nelo Vingada
Ahead of their crucial match against Atletico de Kolkata, NorthEast United coach Nelo Vingada looked to be in a bit of agony as he specially requested the fans to come out in large numbers and support the team. For the first time, he will be missing out the services of his star forward Nicolas Velez alongside Romaric. The team is already plagued with the injuries of last season’s star goalkeeper TP Rehenesh, while Seityasen Singh is yet to recover.
“For the first time, I regret not having choices,” said the coach. NorthEast United has played with a regular starting XI for almost all their last six matches, hence any regular starter missing out due to injury will severely affect the formation of the team.
All teams in the race for semis: Vingada
Tomorrow’s match is a crucial one for the team with this being the last game of the first round, and after having topped the league table for more than 20 days, Nelo would like to end this round on a high. “It is the end of the first round, and we need to end it on a high so that we get something going to achieve our target of reaching the playoffs. All teams are in the race, and no one is out yet,” said the coach.
This season of the ISL has been a tightly contested tie and the Professor very well understands that. “There are no weak teams in the ISL, and all of them have a similar value. All matches have been one goal or two goal games. So the league is better than I expected before I arrived in India,” he said.
One week rest for the team
The home team will be playing after a week, and they will be in no mood to repeat what happened against Chennaiyin in the last match. “We just needed mental rest more than physical recovery, and that is what we got. I tell my players that life is not all about football. After the Chennaiyin game, it felt like someone had punched us in the face. It will be a tough game though both teams are similar in their organization, quality, and value. The capacity to fight can determine the result,” said Nelo.
The NorthEast coach, however, looked bit tensed ahead of the match. Vingada believes that both the teams are very similar in their playing style and hence it will be an exciting contest. “We need to have a good day tomorrow. The small details count and we have to improve on that. We need to concentrate and respect our ideology. There should be no excuses, and we have to put our best eleven,” he added.
The Mumbai match should have been a draw: Arnab Mondal
Meanwhile, Kolkata coach Jose Francisco Molina who has been handed one-match touchline ban did not attend the press conference. Instead, Indian international Arnab Mondal addressed the media. On being asked about Atletico playing too many draws, the defender replied, “We have been playing for the last seven days consecutively, and we are tired. It is not that the strikers are not getting goals, but we are trying our best. If not three points then we go for just the one.”
He was further questioned on ATK conceding goals in every match, to which he replied, “Every team is conceding goals. ATK is not a particular case. Those are not due to some defensive lapse, but silly mistakes are to be blamed.”
“The Forlan goal was conceded by a deflection, and it is not that it was Robert Lalthlamuana's fault. Forlan reacted quicker than him it was just a matter of seconds. We concentrate on zonal marking and moreover it went through a deflection. The Mumbai match should have been a draw according to me. We will get more organized as the league progresses,” he further added.