ISL 2017: "At the end of the season, we will have the top goalscorer," claims NorthEast coach de Deus
It wasn't exactly a spectacular display by NorthEast United to kick-start their campaign in this year's Indian Super League, but they were happy with the point they picked up from their home encounter against Jamshedpur FC this past Saturday that ended goalless.
The next assignment for NorthEast is on the road, away at Chennaiyin FC on Thursday. While looking ahead to the game, NorthEast coach João Pires de Deus expressed no concern whatsoever with Saturday's performance.
“About the previous game, the first thing is that it is a problem if you don't create chances. But we had a lot of chances so it is not a problem. We know how to improve,” said the Portuguese.
He added: “I'm not worried that we didn't score. I know at the end of the league, we will have the top goalscorer in the league. I'm not worried at all.”
Chennaiyin, their opponents on Thursday, in contrast, featured in an entertaining five-goal contest in their opening game and de Deus mentioned that he did, in fact, watch Chennaiyin’s first match.
“I had a chance to watch the Chennaiyin-Goa game. Their back-three applied high pressure with two midfielders and the fullbacks. I like the concept and it was just the first match. They will improve a lot despite the defeat in the first game. They pressed so high and produced some counter-attacks,” said de Deus.
In that match, Chennaiyin were completely outplayed in the first half and were down 0-3 at half-time. de Deus though does not envision such a scenario happening again.
“They will learn and improve - it will not happen again,” he confidently remarked.
de Deus also batted away questions about NorthEast’s previous season, preferring to focus on this year's outfit.
“I don't know if they had a good season or not,” answered de Deus when asked to rate his side's 2016 season. “I'm not here to speak about my team's past. It would be impolite of me if I did that. I'm here to speak about my present and future.
"The present you saw in the Jamshedpur game and the future is that we will improve ourselves as the season progresses.”
The man from Portugal also mentioned that his side weren't concerned with fitness.
“There is no concern. Today, Borges trained fully. So, everybody is perfect to play tomorrow. Even if one or two of them is injured, it is not a concern because this is a squad game and I trust in all my players,” de Deus said.
NorthEast have a good history in Chennai; in three seasons, they have never ended up on the losing side in this fixture. Last year saw the two teams play out a thrilling 3-3 draw with NorthEast snatching a last-gasp point with a goal deep into added time to effectively end Chennaiyin’s hopes of qualifying for the playoffs.