The tactician has a huge task ahead after taking over from Marco Babul.

NorthEast United announced the appointment of Vincenzo Alberto Annese as their new head coach recently. The Indian Super League outfit hopes that the arrival of the Italian tactician will also bring a change in the fortunes of the club. It is likely that the head coach will face a challenging job at NEUFC. 

The club is currently struggling in the Indian Super League’s 2022-23 season, and it will be up to Annese to turn things around and improve their performance. As the former head coach of Gokulam Kerala, Annese has the experience of leading a top club in India and may be, is the perfect man for the job. 

However, it will still be a difficult task, as NorthEast United will need to make significant improvements in order to compete with the other teams in the league. As it stands, the task at hand is exciting and here are five challenges facing the Italian at NEUFC:

5. Get points on the board

The immediate challenge for Vincenzo Alberto Annese will be to turn the losses into draws and eventually start winning games. The Highlanders have lost all of their first nine matches of the 2022-23 season. 

Vincenzo Alberto Annese during his first match in charge at NEUFC. (Courtesy: ISL Media)

The club is at rock bottom and has no points on the board. If the situation persists, it will become an embarrassing sight for the club and its fans. It is a matter of pride and the head coach must get the players to focus their energies on grinding out draws or wins to get points in front of their name on the table.

4. Reinforce the defence

The biggest aspect of NorthEast United’s abject performances this season has been their shambolic defence. In the first nine games, the outfit conceded a whopping 25 goals. The outfit digested seven goals in a single game following a 7-3 defeat to Chennaiyin FC in their own backyard. This was the first game at helm for Annese.

There can be no hope of turning things around without addressing the defensive department. The Italian traditionally has managed teams which were defensively sound and that makes him the ideal man for the job going forward.

3. Bring systemic changes

The initial phase of the season has exposed multiple weaknesses in the NorthEast United setup. From player selection to the shape of the team, nothing has worked. There is a lack of cohesion between the foreign and domestic players which shows its effects on the field. 

Vincenzo Alberto Annese must press the factory reset button and get back to the drawing board. His first few training sessions will be key in finding the right balance for the forthcoming games. Perhaps someone like Emil Benny will play a more significant role after reuniting with the boss.  

2. Acquire competent players

The tactician instructing his players during the Chennaiyin FC game. (Courtesy: ISL Media)

There is no doubt about the fact that the current crop of players at NorthEast United have let the club down. A lack of effort is simply inexcusable at the top level. Failing to execute basic defending structures in set-piece situations is one of the areas where the players have been disappointing.

Following in Manolo Marquez’s footsteps at Hyderabad FC, Annese must use the transfer window to bring in players that have experience in the ISL. He must also get the support of the hierarchy in acquiring players that fit his ideology.

1. Evolve the club

The long-term challenge for Vincenzo Alberto Annese is to transform the club. NorthEast United represent a region of India that is beyond rich in terms of footballing talent. Seeing it struggle in the ISL is really difficult to digest. Luckily, there is no relegation this year, which means that the head coach would and should get time to evolve the club.

Once again, they can take lessons from Hyderabad FC in how they turned the tides by appointing Manolo Marquez and becoming the force they are today, following a bottom-table finish in their inaugural season. 

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