Luis Machado said that interim coach Khalid Jamil has allowed the players freedom to express themselves on the pitch…
NorthEast United are just a win away from securing a berth in the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) play-offs as they prepare to take on Chennaiyin on Thursday.
The Highlanders are on a good run of form under interim coach Khalid Jamil and are unbeaten in seven games (W4, D3), while Chennaiyin are on a winless run of seven games (D4, L3) and are out of contention for a top-four finish.
Assistant coach Alison Kharsyntiew has warned not to take the Southerners lightly.
“I think we have to prepare for the game and not take it easy (against Chennaiyin). In the last game the (NorthEast United) players showed a lot of effort, character and determinant, and hopefully tomorrow we will show the same spirit and try our best to win,” he continued.
“We just have to control them and dictate play, and not give them time with the ball. We have to approach the game very well and be more hungry. I am confident that the players will play well tomorrow.”
NorthEast United defeated Odisha 3-1 on Sunday, courtesy of three strikes inside the opening 25 minutes but allowed their opponent to rally back in the second half. Alison feels that the northeastern outfit played a balanced game.
“These things happen but we have to be more focused throughout the 90 minutes and the concentration level should be high till the final whistle. I think we played a balanced style of football. We score the goals in the first half and it’s not that we played defensive (in the second half). It depends on the moments of the game and we have to approach the game as per the situations. This is the time we have to calm, composed and concentrate on our game. At the same time, we have to show aggression, intensity and give our 100 per cent to win the match,” he explained.
NorthEast United forward Luis Machado has admitted that he has flourished playing alongside Federico Gallego who has assisted three of his six goals this season.
“Everyone knows that he (Gallego) is a very good player. He understands the movements and so easy for me (to play alongside him). It’s good to score goals for the team but the most important thing is to win the match. It doesn’t matter who scores. I’m happy if I score but it’s more important now for the team to go to the playoffs,” said the player.
Machado also acknowledged that the team has been playing well since Khalid Jamil took over the mantle. “For me, it’s the confidence that Khalid gives to all the players. We can do what we want on the field. For us, it’s very good. You need to be good tactically but it’s very important to feel free on the pitch,” he said.