NorthEast United FC have a chance to open the gap at the top when they host defending champions Chennaiyin FC in an intriguing Hero Indian Super League clash at Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati, on Thursday.
NorthEast United have led the ISL table since their opening day win over Kerala Blasters FC. They now have 10 points from five matches, and a win against the defending champions will open a clear five-point gap at the top of the table.
“I am sure that in Guwahati and other regions in the north-east, people will take pride in these players and this team. We have reached 10 points so far, which is good but we have not yet reached our target, which is to play the semi-finals,” said NorthEast manager Nelo Vingada.
NorthEast United managed a fighting 1-1 draw against Delhi Dynamos in the previous match and, according to Vingada, the team can now match the best teams in the league.
“We need more points but I’m very confident because in these five games our team has kept improving and now we can play anywhere against anyone and give a fight. But of course we play to win. I’m very happy to be part of this league, this country and the atmosphere is great,” said Vingada, whose team was picked up for rich praise from Delhi Dynamos coach Gianluca Zambrotta who said NorthEast were the “best football playing team at present.”
“We came in with a whole new mentality and what I told my players is that if we put the heart in, the will, the hunger, then we can win. If not then we are not the same team and we can be at the bottom of the table,” said Materazzi.
Chennaiyin FC are placed sixth at the moment with four points from three matches.