The NorthEast United head coach also spoke on Wilmar Jordan’s availability for the game.

NorthEast United are set to play against Odisha FC on Friday at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, in what is to be their final home game. The Highlanders have by no means had an easy season, and have suffered a lot due to a variety of reasons. Currently 11th in the league, and having earned just five points throughout, Vincenzo Alberto Annese’s side will look to win their final home game of the season, and give something to cheer to their devoted fans, who have supported the club at such difficult times.

Though Vincenzo’s men face a tough opponent in the looks of Odisha, the former will be completely motivated, and would look forward to continue their fine form from the last game, when the Highlanders drew 3-3 against East Bengal.

Ahead of the crucial fixture, NorthEast United head coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese spoke to the media. These are the main points from the conversation.

Views on the game

NorthEast united have pride at stake, but Odisha have everything to play for, and Vincenzo’s men know that a result tomorrow would be a huge moral booster for them. When asked about his views on the game ahead of them, Vincenzo had this to say.

“We have everything (to play for) because we are in one stand where all players start to really perform well. It’s been two months and we need to close our home game (last home game) with one good result. We need progress, and have to give a continuous positive result of previous result versus East Bengal.

He added, “Odisha also come from a positive result, that was a booster for them. So, I hope we can really make a good impact, because first of all the deserve the players to have this kind of game they can take the best of point and secondly for all staff, press and management, and supporters that even a few supporters can be very important for us in this game.”

Vincenzo’s thoughts on his opponents

Odisha FC are a team that have been very impressive this season. Right from the very start, Josep Gombau and his men have made their mark as one of the strongest contingents this season. Also, Friday’s result will be crucial for Odisha in their qualification race. When asked about how he plans on stopping this irresistible force, NorthEast’s coach commented:

“It (OFC’s top six hopes) depends upon us. If we win, it will be very difficult for them. Odisha have quality players in each position, both foreigners and Indians. Also, Mauricio is a top striker, he is fast, aggressive. He is very difficult to mark, and has a quality of attacking the space behind the defenders. I think only he has this kind of quality, and he is very good in this, we have studied a lot on him. He is very dangerous, but we have very good quality in the middle.”

“We have improved, all guys have improved, all players believe in this result; really we want to make a good final game. It will be a boost for us to continue the job that we have done. Plus we have Jordan, we come back with Jordan (Wilmar Jordan Gil), that is important for us. He was missing, we lost Roman in injury. But I think tomorrow he can be available, for a short period. That can provide a boost in the attacking phase,” he added.

“We have Jordan now and we have trained so well during the week – defensive phase, attacking phase. We had one good week of preparation. I saw positivity in the face of the guys. We have nothing to lose, we have only to reach the best for this game.”

Injury Updates

When asked about his team’s injury status, Vincenzo Alberto Annese firstly gave the delightful news of Wilmar Jordan’s return.

He added, “All fit. Roman will recover today, so will be available for tomorrow. We know we have our two players who cannot play tomorrow, that is Pragyan (Gogoi) and Mashoor (Shereef). Emil Benny has recovered.”

Last home game, what he wants to tell his team

NorthEast United have had a tremendously difficult ISL 2022-23, and can only hope of finishing the season with a high. Tomorrow being their final home game, this is what the coach expects from the game.

“Oh we need to kill them, I want to win. Really, we need to win, because we deserve, we worked hard, we changed. We did 33 training (sessions) in two months. I just want the best for the guys. I know that with me they will improve day by day. They have more confidence now, and I would love to give a good result tomorrow.”

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