NorthEast United FC coach Nelo Vingada has not lost faith in his team’s ability despite a run of form that has seen them without a win for the last six matches in Hero Indian Super League.
Draws against Delhi Dynamos and Atletico de Kolkata were the only solace for NorthEast United who have lost four of their last six matches but Vingada is confident they can turn the corner as they come up against an inspired FC Pune City at Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati, on Tuesday.
NorthEast United FC set the pace in this edition of ISL with two back-to-back victories against Kerala Blasters and FC Goa in their first two matches at home but later lost their next three matches in front of their home fans.
They have two more games remaining at home and Vingada has no doubt they can upset calculations and qualify for semi-finals. “The most important thing is that NorthEast are still alive. We can play and beat any team. There is no doubt about that and the best thing is that NorthEast are coming back and I am very happy with the performance of the players. I still believe that we have a chance,” said Vingada.
NorthEast United are currently placed seventh with 11 points from 10 matches, the same as bottom-placed FC Goa who have played an additional match. However, the teams are so close to each other that a win will take them close to qualification.
“If we can play this way, we can score the goals and you know better than me that last year Chennaiyin were almost out but played well in the last four games. Even Goa can play well and qualify,” said Vingada, whose team lost to FC Goa and drew against Atletico de Kolkata after either dominating or leading till the final minute of play.
NorthEast United will be up against an inspired FC Pune City who dethroned Delhi Dynamos, largely acknowledged as the best team in the league at the moment.
FC Pune City scored an astonishing 4-3 victory over Delhi Dynamos to climb to fourth spot with 15 points from 11 matches and coach Antonio Habas believes the victory will help them navigate a tough run of away matches against NorthEast United, Kerala Blasters and Atletico de Kolkata.
“We are only thinking about NorthEast right now. We have a huge travel coming up for us and very soon, we will have to focus on recovering. We aren’t thinking about the semi-finals, so we will focus on NorthEast and prepare accordingly,” said Habas.
Despite striking form after winning two of their last three matches, Habas is taking nothing for granted.
“You saw two games back we were out of contention but now we are playing well again and we are back on track. We need to remain in the top four. We have to maintain balance to achieve the result. Let’s see on December 2, what’s our position,” said Habas.