NorthEast United FC will look to continue their good start to the 2018-19 Indian Super League (ISL) season as they resume their campaign after the international break on Thursday with a game against the current champions Chennaiyin FC in Chennai.
NorthEast United FC currently have four points from their two games, having drawn their first game against FC Goa and won their second against ATK.
Tomorrow represents another challenge, one which their Dutch coach Eelco Schattorie is looking forward to despite a break in the ISL calendar owing to international friendlies.
“It’s always difficult for all teams”, Schattorie said speaking at the pre-match press conference when asked about his team resuming action after a break of 14 days.
“The biggest change is to adapt to the humidity here. We were training in the morning yesterday and it was really hot. It was a little better in the evening.”
Schattorie also said that his team needed to be wary of Chennaiyin considering that the champions have started off the season with two losses.
“Chennaiyin have lost two games, so they are like a dog in a corner. We don’t know how they’ll react whether they will attack or keep back.
"They have some good quality individual players who if they have a good game can turn the match in their favour. We need to stop that from happening”, said Schattorie.
India midfielder Rowllin Borges has enjoyed a good start to the season with NorthEast and has looked to be more involved in the play.
After a season of struggle last time around, Borges seems to be free of injury and playing well again. He scored the match-winner in the 1-0 victory over ATK which happened to be his first ever goal in ISL.
Asked about Borges’ playing higher up the pitch under him, Schattorie replied:
“What I like is to play with a 4-3-3. So I like to have one box-to-box midfielder, one holding midfielder and one who can play behind the front three.
"Rowllin has the ability to score goals, he has good technical ability and he has already shown that he’s good in the holding position. So I feel he has all the tools and is also physically very strong to play as a box-to-box which is what you have seen so far this season.”
Schattorie was also asked about French forward Bartholomew Ogbeche who was playing in the Netherlands last season. The NorthEast United FC coach said he viewed Ogbeche as an “extension of myself” on the pitch.
“For someone who was playing in the highest division in Holland last season, he has adapted very well.
"He knows what I want and that’s why I’ve given him the captain’s armband as well. Yes, he needs to start scoring goals, but apart from that I think he’s done very well”, said Schattorie.
NorthEast will have to do without their goalkeeper TP Rehenesh, who has been indefinitely suspended by the ISL for violent conduct after having punched ATK’s Gerson Vieira in the face.
The coach also mentioned that Keegan Perreira, Simranjeet Singh and Kivi Zhimomi are unavailable for selection for this game.