The NorthEast United tactician also spoke about new signing Wilmar Jordan.

NorthEast United are still in the hunt for their first point in the Indian Super League (ISL 2022-23). After an encouraging outing against ATK Mohun Bagan in their last game, Marco Balbul’s side hope to give their fans something to cheer about against Mumbai City.

One day prior to the fixture head coach Marco Balbul attended the pre-match press conference. Here’s what he said.

Marco Balbul wary of Mumbai City threat

Marco Balbul is aware of the danger the Islanders pose for the game and revealed what his side must do to get a positive result against them. He said: “I think they are one of the best in the league. There’s no doubt that they’re in their best form now. In the last two games, they’ve scored 10 goals and could’ve scored more. To stop them, we must be well organized in defence, be very compact and aggressive. If we succeed in stopping them, then the result will be a positive one for us.”

Thoughts on poor start to the season and coaching staff lay-offs

When asked about how he feels the game will be involving the team yet to win a match against one yet to lose one in the season, Balbul said: “I think the team now doesn’t perform. We’re looking and working very hard in training, the players showed us a lot of motivation to change the director. We’re putting a lot of effort to change the direction.

“In the January transfer window, we need to sign a minimum of 3-4 players to help improve. Also, Wilmar (Jordan) joined us a few days ago and he’ll also help us. The club is totally united to go forward in a positive way and we hope to start that tomorrow,” he further claimed.

The Israeli manager also addressed questions about the Highlanders firing some members of the coaching staff to replace them. He said: “It’s a club decision. As I said, the team hasn’t performed well so the club has taken decisions accordingly. We’ve already signed a new physio, who will come on Sunday or Monday. So, as I said, we’re looking for a better change and we’re looking for changes in the team. We must change it to make a better future for NorthEast United.”

Will NorthEast United maintain attacking intensity against Mumbai City?

When questioned if the Highlanders will maintain their attacking approach against a team like Mumbai City, Marco Balbul opined: “No, I think we have our way of playing. I think things should be consistent. Of course, you need to adapt some things according to the opponents. But if we want to win this, we must attack. If we want points, we also need to defend strongly. We need to make the most of our good chances.

“Of course, Mumbai will control the game. But as I said, even in the World Cup, the team that controls 70% of the game often cannot truly win the games. So, we need to be very concentrated and motivated tomorrow and aggressive with the ball. If the boys do what we trained till now, the result will be positive,” he added.

Wilmar Jordan’s status and need for more positivity

Balbul gave an update on the new striker Wilmar Jordan, saying: “He’s not in a good shape, but he’ll be in the squad tomorrow. He’s a very good player. He’s a target striker, he can run forward, he can score goals and he can help us a lot. We need to have patience with him, but I feel he can help us in the future.”

Finally, the Israeli manager also spoke about the necessity to see more positive performances from his side, saying: “Every time we think positive and every time we believe we can win games. Because otherwise, what’s the point? If we can’t think we can win, there is no point.

“We believe in the team, the players believe in the team and I hope we can have a positive result tomorrow. The fans have suffered so far and we want to give them better results, better performances and a better fight to ensure the points stay at NorthEast United tomorrow,” he ended with.

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