The Portuguese spoke ahead of his team’s first away game against Mumbai City FC…

NorthEast United hit the road as they take on Mumbai City FC in the first of three consecutive away games Mumbai Football Arena tomorrow. This will be their third game in six days for the Highlanders, but, despite the packed schedule Head Coach Nelo Vingada said he was looking forward to the contest.

“Of course it will be a tough game for us like every game is. Mumbai are a strong team with good players and they are much more developed as compared to last year. This is our third game in six days and it is not easy. But, I hope our motivation and quality can help us get a good result,” he said.

The NEUFC boss bemoaned the uneven schedule fixtures pointing out how his team were to play three games in less than a week, while capital side Delhi Dynamos are only set to start their season tonight. He accepted that the games had taken their toll on some of his players, but said his teams would try to do their best with the options on the table.

When asked whether his team would sit back and play for a point on account of the fatigue factor, the Portuguese said he always expects his team to attack and defend as a unit. He also added that he doesn’t anticipate making more than 1-2 changes to the winning combination.

The Highlanders have scored three goals so far in their two games and their foreign imports like Emiliano Alfaro, Nicolas Velez and Katsumi Yusa have featured prominently in their early success. When asked why the club’s Indian youngsters had not seen more playing time Vingada struck a reassuring note. “A lot of our Indian players are very young. I always like to bring in youngsters. But, I want to bring them in at the right time. Sometimes by bringing a young player at the wrong time, you can spoil him.”

He further continued, “The foreign players have more experience. They have played at another level. So, they bring something different. On the other hand, the youngsters have more speed and energy. It is a blend and I want to use it to the benefit of the squad.”

The former Kitchee FC manager joined the side from the northeast late and when quizzed on whether he was happy with the players that came in before him he said the recruitment had been solid. He explained that both players bought before and after his arrival are serving the squad and that he had now found the balance of the team.

One aspect of NEUFC’s play that has really stood out so far this season is the cohesion in their play and the manager said the unity within his players is the best quality of the group. “I was with Martimo before coming here. The club was not going well. We managed to avoid relegation and even made it to the Cup Final. But, I never felt the kind of identity there that we have managed to develop between these players already in just six weeks. We have very good combinations and social interaction between the foreigners and the local players and I’m very of that,” he asserted.

Among their riches NEUFC are particularly spoiled for choice in the goalkeeping department with India international Subrata Paul, Under-23 international Reenesh TP and Martimo’s Wellington Lima competing for a starting spot and the tactician said though Paul is the more established name, irrespective of who plays in goal the team will be equally strong.

Photo : ISL Media

Report by Khel Now-Content Editor Mrunal Nakashe. A sports buff, he’s also a foreign policy enthusiast and keen North Korea watcher. Mrunal loves gaming, reading, traveling and is a self-confessed Football Manager addict. You can follow him on Twitter.