The interim coach also credited the entire team for the feat.
NorthEast United confirmed their spot in the Indian Super League playoffs after a 2-0 win against Kerala Blasters. The Highlanders opened the scoring with a goal by VP Suhair in the 34th minute. A Lalengmawia stunner in first half stoppage time confirmed the three points for NorthEast United. The Highlanders only needed a point from this match to confirm a spot in the top four. A win saw them climb to the third position in the table with a final tally of 33 points. Following the win, interim coach Khalid Jamil spoke in the post-match press conference.
Credit to the players
NorthEast United are unbeaten in nine games since Khalid Jamil was appointed as the interim boss. However, the tactician believes that it is his players who deserve all the credit. “The players, they deserve to be in this place. They worked very hard. Because of the players we got this result. That is hundred percent sure,” he began.
“I don’t have to tell anything to them. They are just playing. And according to plan, some plan we are putting. But inside the ground they are the main thing,” the 43-year old further added.
On Federico Gallego
NorthEast United midfielder Federico Gallego missed the last two games for the Highlanders and came on as a sub in the 62nd minute against Kerala. Speaking on his fitness, Khalid Jamil revealed, “He was not fit actually (to start the game). He practiced only one day before match. So, we thought to make him use after one half or maybe last thirty minutes because he was not hundred percent fit.”
“We are very happy to see him, he is back. So, it is good for us,” he added.
On Apuia’s goal
20-year-old midfielder Lalengmawia scored his first-ever goal in the Indian Super League on Friday night. On being asked about his thoughts on Apuia’s long range effort, Khalid Jamil seemed ecstatic.
“It was a very outstanding goal. Apuia, I don’t have to say anything. One of the best players in India we have. I feel very happy to see his goal. He scored a wonderful goal and he is a talented player, no doubt.”
On VP Suhair
NorthEast United forward VP Suhair scored his second goal of the season and the Highlanders’ first on Friday night. Speaking on his thoughts on the winger, the interim coach lauded his efforts for the squad.
“Suhair, actually if I tell one word, he is a team man. He works for the team only. And, that is why he is always in the starting XI, because he works for the team. Defensively he helps, in attacking he goes, in set-pieces also. He is a very nice, humble man. I know from before, he has that quality.”
Enjoying the pressure
On being asked if qualifications for the playoffs now meant added pressure, the 43-year old answered, “Let’s see, we have to wait which team we are going to play. There is a pressure but we must enjoy that pressure.”