ISL: Buoyant NorthEast have ATK in their sights

File Photo : Avram Grant
IANS|11-Jan-2018 17:56

Guwahati, Jan 11 : NorthEast United FC may have won their first match under the guidance of their technical advisor Avram Grant, but they will need to be at their best to stop a desperate ATK in a ninth round Indian Super League (ISL) clash at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium here on Friday.

ATK have won just twice in eight games and can cut the gap to the play-off spots to just two points with a victory. 

Their assistant coach Bastob Roy likened the situation to that of Real Madrid in the La Liga, saying that this was how football was and that they would now have to create their own luck rather than rely on the rub of the green.

"Have you seen the situation of Real Madrid? This is football, it's part of the game and we are trying to come out of this situation. We still think we can make the play-offs. The table is very unpredictable and with two wins in a row, we may be able to achieve it. Luck is not with us," he said. 

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"Chance factor has been against us. We are not looking behind but looking forward. The only thing we can do is hard work. Luck is not in our hands. In football you have to score and not concede. That's what we work on," he added, not disclosing the team's plans for NorthEast United, who were impressive in their 2-1 win against FC Goa. 

Meanwhile, former Chelsea manager Grant will look for the attitude which was seen against FC Goa, when his side notched their first win after four defeats on the trot. They can leapfrog ATK with a win and that will be the most motivating factor for them.

"I think we need to improve a lot. I like to implement attacking football but for us to reach the desired level is difficult. So the immediate focus is to remain organised and be together. Hopefully that gets us some results," NorthEast assistant coach Eelco Schattorie said.

"Two areas which need work on is to bring the team together. Last week everyone worked hard and had the intention to help each other so that organisation is very important. Secondly, we need to improve in the area of scoring goals but that is the most difficult as well. We can't train today to score and score tomorrow. That is not how it works. That only works when you have (Lionel) Messi or (Cristiano) Ronaldo," he added.

NorthEast United may not have those two players at their disposal, but they showed what a determined performance can achieve against one of the best teams in the league. More of the same will certainly cause ATK problems.