Despite being at the bottom-half of the table until now, NorthEast United FC — after a double against defending champion Atletico de Kolkata — is now a force to reckon with.
Coach Cesar Farias, at the press conference, said the league is very tight and even the last-placed team now can make it to the knock-out stage.
“All teams have same possibilities now. We started with many away-games and now we have more home-games at the end. Hopefully, we should make it to the last four.”
On the home team, Farias said, “Chennai is a great team like any other team. As I said before, this league is very even. They are a very organised side. They have very good players. Some players stand out more than others because of the goals and assists they make. They are very clear about the kind of football they want to play.”
On the other hand, Chennaiyin FC coach Marco Materrazi said, “Every match is crucial and can change the standings. We were inconsistent but we can show that we still have it to make the semifinals.”
Excerpts from an interaction with Farias:
Will you follow Zico’s five-man defence to stifle Elano Blumer and Stiven Mendoza?
Goa and NorthEast are two different teams. We are going to use our strengths to come out on top.
Your goal difference of -5 may pose a problem considering the league is tight?
There have been ups and downs through the season. We know our goal difference is not good. But the team keeps growing and creating many chances. We hope that we balance that out in the games ahead.
Will you ask your boys to score more goals?
In football, the hardest part is to build an attack. It is easy to defend. We are building the team from the back to the front. We have shown growth and development in that area and my players are about to explode in the final third.
Bikey has been phenomenal in front of the defence. Are you confident that he can stop Elano Blumer and Stiven Mendoza?
He has played in different leagues and has the experience. It is a pleasure to have him.
What kind of challenges will NorthEast bring to the pitch?
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