ISL: NorthEast, Delhi fight to avoid last-place finish (Preview)
(3 months ago)
Guwahati, Feb 13 : NorthEast United FC and Delhi Dynamos FC will play for pride in an Indian Super League (ISL) game at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium here on Wednesday.
Delhi are currently placed last while NorthEast are ninth in the points table but both sides have enjoyed good form in patches.
Talking about the mood in the NorthEast dressing room ahead of the "more-or-less inconsequential" game, thir assistant coach Eelco Schatorrie, said that "qualification or not", his squad is still very positive.
"The players are very positive, and everybody will give their best, there is no doubt about that. Of course, when you are not fighting for anything then the motivation level tends to dip a bit, but as a group everybody is here to learn and we are learning with every games," said Schatorrie.
NorthEast brought in the experienced Avram Grant to coach the team in January after Joao de Deus Pires' disastrous start.
But, even a change in the coaching staff couldn't arrest the Highlanders downward slide this season.
Commenting on his team's performance, Schatorrie talked about the need to have quality players in the side.
"We have played all the teams and I can say we haven't been completely outplayed by any of them. The difference has been in the quality of individuals players every team has. We have had our chances but we failed to take them," he added.
Delhi, after their fine start beating FC Pune City in their opening game, only saw their campaign nosedive with every outing.
Delhi too had their fair share of highs when they defeated table toppers Bengaluru FC and held Chennaiyin FC 1-1 in their last game but coach Miguel Angel Portugal knows it is too little too late.
"Our motivation now is to avoid the last position in the league. NorthEast United are also in a similar position. We would want a win in this one," he said at the pre-match press conference.
The Spanish tactician also revealed that he'll be missing some of his key players for the game.
"Yes, Nanda (Kumar), Edu Moya, Albino (Gomes), Romeo (Fernandes), (Jeroen) Lumu didn't have time to recover from the last game. That's doesn't matter. We'll try to play our best and win the game," the Delhi coach added.