The 43-year-old hailed his players for their attitude in the season so far.

NorthEast United and ATK Mohun Bagan are all square as they head into the second leg of the Indian Super League 2020-21 semi-final. The Mariners almost went into the second leg with a 1-0 lead but a 94th minute equalizer from Idrissa Sylla cancelled out David Williams’ opener. The Highlanders’ coach Khalid Jamil and assistant coach Alison Kharsyntiew spoke to the media ahead of the deciding fixture on Tuesday.

Adapting to game situations

On being asked if ATKMB’s physical approach to the game will see the Highlanders change their tactics, the 43-year-old replied, “They have their planning and we have ours. We have shown in our last two encounters with them that we can adapt our game to match theirs. Rest, we will give our best for the game tomorrow.”

The former Mohun Bagan coach also stated that he expects an open game. “Both sides have to push for a winner as there is no away goal rule this time, so I am expecting this match to be an open game.”

Not thinking about the first leg

NorthEast United didn’t create a lot of chances in the first leg. On being asked if that was a cause for concern, the Highlanders’ coach said, “We are not thinking about the last game. This match will be like an eliminator and we know that the winner of this match will earn a place in the final. This is good motivation for the boys.”

Enjoying the pressure

It’s a winner-gets-all situation in the second leg of the semi-final. On being asked if that adds the pressure on his team, the former Aizawl FC coach said, “There is always pressure, but I have told the boys to enjoy it. Both teams have to fight for a result because of no away goals, so it is the same for our opponent as well.”

Nothing to be embarrassed of

NorthEast United are potentially two games away from lifting the trophy. On being asked about the mood in the dressing room at the moment, the Khalid Jamil said, “The players are motivated and they have been doing a great job so far. I am sure if they continue the same, we will go the distance and even if we don’t, there is nothing to be ashamed about. They have made everyone proud and that’s the important thing.”

Alison Kharsyntiew

Accompanying him was the Highlanders’ assistant coach Alison Kharsyntiew. The 34-year-old gave an update on Deshorn Brown’s injury. “He has joined training over the last couple of sessions and his situation is being assessed by the medical team.”

Alison further added that full-back Provat Lakra has left the NorthEast United camp. “Provat Lakra has left the camp recently due to an injury. He will undergo surgery and focus on his rehab this month.”

Finally, the former Shillong Lajong boss spoke about his team’s preparations ahead of the game. “We have to be prepared for the scenario of an extra 30 minutes or penalties at the end of this match.”

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