The tactician also spoke about the areas the team needs to improve.

NorthEast United will take the field for the fifth time this season at the Indira Gandhi Athletic stadium in Guwahati on November 5 against Kerala Blasters. The Highlanders are still searching for their first win of the season. They lost their last game to the defending League Shield winners Jamshedpur FC away from home and are desperate for a win. Ahead of the game, assistant coach Paul Groves and defender Gaurav Bora attended the pre-match press conference. 

Here’s what they had to say.

Thoughts on the game

The assistant coach began by sharing his thoughts ahead of tomorrow’s game against the Blasters at home. He said that his side has fixed a few important things and is looking forward to his challenge. 

“All games are difficult on this level. We have tweaked things a bit in training and are looking forward to the game and challenge,” he began.

Mood in the camp

A lot of on and off the field problems have affected NorthEast United in the last month or so. When asked about the mood in the dressing room, Groves praised his players for being so strong mentally and putting in everything for the club.

“I think the players have been very consistent and have worked very hard everyday. They have tried to implement everything that we have tried to do. At times people make mistakes, individually and collectively. We have had opportunities but haven’t done enough to convert those. But to be fair to the boys, they’ve worked very hard and tried to do the best for the club,” he replied.

Also Read: Preview: NorthEast United, Kerala Blasters aim to get back on track

Area of concern

The assistant coach was quizzed about the area of concerns for his side as they lost all their matches so far this season. Paul groves said that scoring and not conceding goals are the areas which need to be fixed.

“We need to improve in respect of not conceding goals and creating and scoring our opportunities. And hopefully a better mentality because when things are tough you can see that they are working hard and giving their best effort. Hopefully their togetherness will be enough to get the three points that we are so desperate for,” he asserted.

Marco Balbul’s absence

NorthEast United FC’s head coach Marco Balbul was shown his second red card of the season in the game against Jamshedpur. The Israeli head coach will not be present on the sidelines for the game against Kerala Blasters. Paul said how the team has adjusted to his absence and mentioned, “He has done the work on the training ground. He has handed it a little bit to the players and even as a staff we are experienced enough to handle any sort of suspensions.”

Sly’s replacement

As reported earlier by Khel Now, NorthEast United’s latest Nigerian import had left the club due to personal reasons. Speaking about his replacement, Paul shared an update that the new player is not far away.

“I’m sure that in the background a replacement is being worked upon. It’s not too far away, but until it’s signed and sealed, it’s not quite over the line. But we are working hard in the background,” he stated.

Message to the fans

NorthEast United’s supporters group Highlanders Brigade will mark their fifth anniversary tomorrow. When asked about what would be his message to the fans, Paul Groves said, “Hopefully we can give them a fantastic day by bringing home the three points and they can enjoy their fifth anniversary as much as they deserve. They have been with the team consistently through thick and thin and hopefully we can give them something,” 

Gaurav Bora’s comments

Mood in the dressing room

NorthEast United have suffered four defeats in a row and are in a tough place. When asked about the mood in the camp, Bora said that everyone is in good shape and the team will look to rectify its mistakes in the upcoming games.

“Everyone is in good shape now and the mentality is also good. Whatever happened in the previous games, we need to rectify our mistakes and look forward to the upcoming goals,” he signed off.

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