I-League: ONGC high on confidence
ONGC's new coach Santosh Kashyap is not willing to read too much into his side's resounding 3-0 win over Shillong Lajong in the last round ahead of their crucial 12th round encounter against United Sikkim Football Club (USFC) on Saturday.
"Our aim is to finish in the top half of the table, maybe 7th. So we should not bask in the glory of one emphatic win for too long. The win definitely boosted our confidence. But we consistently need to perform at that level," Kashyap said.
"ONGC have so far been below par in most of the matches and have conceded too many unnecessary goals after taking the lead due to negative attitude. I want to change that. I believe in playing positive football and that's what I am inculcating in my boys. I am glad that they are responding well," Kashyap confessed.
"USFC are a good team and it will be a good match. No team in the top tier can be taken lightly. If you notice the gap at the bottom is very less so one bad day can cost us big," he added.
While the win helped ONGC leapfrog to the 11th position with 11 points, USFC remained in the drop zone with eight in their kitty after failing to turn the tide against Mumbai FC in spite of appointing a new coach.
But club chairman Baichung Bhutia can hope for light at the end of the dark tunnel as under the 27-year old Australian Nathan Hall who happens to be the youngest in the business, Sikkim's performance was encouraging against Mumbai FC.
A win on Saturday can help the youngest outfit in the marathon league wriggle out of relegation zone.
And if ONGC midfielder Eric Brown - nursing an ankle injury - is ruled out for the game, the visitors' chances will be enhanced. The Nigerian was the wrecker in chief along with Yusa Katsumi in the previous game.
Kashyap though is hopeful that the striker will be available for selection.
"It's true that he is down with an ankle injury at the moment but I expect him to be fit for Saturday. We will take a call after assessing his state before the match," Kashyap confirmed.