The assistant coach was upbeat ahead of the big clash.

After two back-to-back wins in the Indian Super League, NorthEast United would be high on confidence ahead of their next fixture against Mumbai City FC. However, the Islanders are sitting comfortably at the top of the table having won nine of their 13 matches this season and having drawn three. Interestingly, their only defeat came against NorthEast United. The Highlanders would like to repeat that result on Saturday. Ahead of the game, assistant coach Alison Kharsyntiew spoke to the media along with defender Benjamin Lambot.

Mumbai City’s threat

Despite the run of good form recently, the former Shillong Lajong coach is aware of the threat imposed by their opponent. “First of all, I will give credit to the players for the hard work and their good performance in the last two games. Hopefully, we will continue with the same spirit and the same performance in the next match. Yes, Mumbai City are unbeaten for a lot of games. They are a good team, but we must believe in ourselves that we can beat them tomorrow. We just have to be disciplined in our attacking and defensive principles and be confident,” stated Alison Kharsyntiew.

Approach to the game

Mumbai City FC have been the most consistent team in the league so far. On being asked if that would change their approach to tomorrow’s game, he replied, “We need to dictate the play. We need to control the game. If we don’t have the ball, we need to defend well and in possession of the ball, we need to create chances and then utilize it. Big game for us tomorrow.”

Mumbai City have one of the best attacking units in the league. On being asked how they plan to contain their attacking threat, the 33-year-old stated, “It’s very simple, we have to work as a team, communicate well and be disciplined in our defending principles. If we can do that for the 90 minutes, then we can surely get over the line,” added Alison Kharsyntiew.

Update on Dylan Fox

Further, the Highlanders’ assistant coach also gave an update on defender Dylan Fox’s injury. “Dylan Fox has been recovering well. The medical team has been working hard to get him back in action as soon as possible,” he informed.

Effect of the reverse fixture

NorthEast United are the only team to have beaten Mumbai City FC so far this season. On being asked if that would have any effect on tomorrow’s match, Alison Kharsyntiew stated, “We have beaten them once, but every game is different. Tomorrow is a new game and it’s a new challenge for us. We are doing the best we can. I am confident that the players will put in their best effort to get the three points,” concluded Alison Kharsyntiew.

Benjamin Lambot on change in coaching staff

Benjamin Lambot was asked about the change in head coach and its effect on the players. The Belgian answered, “ It’s always something special when it happens in a club, but this is not the first time for me. It’s taken one or two days to make the change in the mood, but after that the coach we know that it was Khalid. We have known him from the beginning of the season.”

“So for us, it was not a big change and we keep going the same way. We put a little bit more aggression, a little bit more discipline that we missed in the last few games, but we don’t change a lot of things. So, we bring the same basics and the coach now brings his little touch and that’s maybe what’s changed now. We always keep together and keep the team spirit,” he added.

On being asked about NorthEast United’s lack of clean sheets, the Highlanders’ centre-back replied, “The main problem for us was on the set-piece. But you can see now that we are stronger on this point. We worked a lot on it in the training.”

“In the league all the teams have good offensive lines so of course they can get a goal. But if you score more than the opponents, it is the most important thing in football. For the moment, our attacking side is very well so we are going to push them and defensively we are going to be more strong in the game. Of course, Mumbai City have a good attack line, but we are going to take them like any other team and go for the win tomorrow,” concluded Lambot.

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