We won 50% of the game because of fans: NorthEast United FC coach Juan Pedro Benali
Yash Pratap Singh
NorthEast United move up to third position in the ISL points table
What a night of football we have had here in Guwahati. NorthEast United FC pulled off an epic heist against Jamshedpur and recorded their second win of the season. Two goals by Michel Zabaco and Ibson Melo in the last three minutes of the game sealed the deal for the Highlanders.
Jamshedpur FC started the game with an early penalty goal and did very well to keep NorthEast United at bay for almost 94 minutes, but a couple of late goals from the Highlanders changed the entire picture of the game.
NorthEast United broke Jamshedpur FC’s four game winning streak against them and clinched their second win against them. After the game, NorthEast United’s head coach Juan Pedro Benali spoke to the media.
Thoughts on the game
The head coach shared his thoughts on the game. He said that Jamshedpur FC are a tough side to score against and his side made a few mistakes in the first half.
“I think if we see the game slowly, Jamshedpur were defending and defending. We made some positioning mistakes in the first half. But, we corrected it in the second half. They are a tough side to score against.
He also said that, “But, perseverance and we kept on going again and again and it happened. That’s the beauty of football. We couldn’t score in 90 minutes and in the last three minutes we scored two. It was a great game and a great three points,” he asserted.
Energy in the stadium
The Highlanders’ faithful turned up in good numbers to support NorthEast United and created a magical atmosphere in the stadium. The Spaniard said that the energy was fantastic in the stadium and fans pushed them a lot.
“It was fantastic. We hope to see more fans and that’s what we want. We won 50% of the game because of the fans. They were pushing us and that is NorthEast’s spirit and that’s what we want to see,” he quipped.
Half-time team talk
NorthEast United turned everything around in the second half. When asked about what his half-time team talk was like, Juan Pedro Benali said, “In the other games, we were winning. If you see all the goals that we have conceded have come from set pieces. I tell them to play how we prepare for the game and don’t do more. Just be sharp and calm and that’s what happened in the second half,”
Performance of the team
The head coach was asked about his thoughts on his side’s performance so far. He replied and said, “If someone told me before the start of the season that after the fifth match we had 8 points and were 3rd position, I would not believe it. I’m really happy with the guys and their work. They work really hard and they deserve it. The team is doing well and I’m happy,”
Speaking about Ibson Melo’s role in the team, the head coach said that slowly the Brazilian has started to come back to full fitness and will definitely be an important player for his side in the upcoming games.
“Ibson is a great player. In the beginning his fitness was not good, but slowly he has started to come. We have great foreign players, but only 4 players can play. Everyone is doing their best and I think Ibson would be a very important player in the ISL,” he quipped.
Nestor Albiach’s absence
NorthEast United’ star midfielder Nestor Albiach wasn’t included in the matchday squad against Jamshedpur FC. Speaking about the reason behind his absence, the head coach said that Nestor was down with a fever and was therefore given rest.
“I got a call in the morning that he was down with a fever. He was feeling very sick and couldn’t even move so I told him to take rest because safety and health of players comes first,” he concluded.