The Highlanders manager said his team will go all out to get three points in Kochi…

NorthEast United FC take on Kerala Blasters FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Sunday in a crunch encounter that will decide who will be the final semi-finalist of Hero Indian Super League 2016. The Highlanders head into the game in fifth position in the table with 18 points from 13 games, while Kerala sit one place above them with 19 points from 13 matches. NorthEast must win to qualify to book their maiden semis berth and know that Kerala only require a draw to cement their position in the top 4.

Highlanders head coach Nelo Vingada stressed the importance of getting a win on Sunday. “Tomorrow is the last game of this stage and the league has been amazing and it has been a good surprise for me and tomorrow will be a fantastic atmosphere, and it will be a great game between the two teams. It will be hard for one team as they will be out and maybe everyone can say we could have collected the points to qualify earlier but football is not decided by performance but by results, and tomorrow we will go out there to get the result as your performance is forgotten quickly, but the result is remembered forever. So, I hope tomorrow we get to see a great game,” Vingada told reporters at the pre-match press conference.

He continued: “I have played in stadiums with a lot of spectators present many times in my career and tomorrow it will again be eleven against eleven on the field. The whole city will be supporting Kerala but of course we can win the game and the winner must be the best and I know it will be hard for us but we are here to win and we have made a better performance away from home this season and we had a spell where the results were not good for us and we had injuries and I am very optimistic for tomorrow and let’s see what happens tomorrow.”

The 63-year-old explained how his side will approach the game, given only they are in a must-win situation. “It is easy to play for a draw than for a win and for me and my team, it is better to play for a win than a draw and now we need to win and I am not Kerala’s coach, so it is difficult for me to say what he will do with his team and I don’t know what they will do, but I know what we have to do and when we have the ball we will attack and try to score and win as a draw is not an option for us,” Vingada said.

The Blasters have won their last four matches at home heading into the clash on Sunday. When asked how his side would deal with the pressure of playing against Kerala at home, Vingada said: “If you ask me I would like to be in a position where we have more points than Kerala… We are feeling pressure because we have one point fewer and they are feeling a lot of pressure as they are playing at home and expect to qualify, and sometimes this kind of pressure can affect some players and the team.”

Vingada also provided an injury update ruling out goalkeeper Subrata Paul and Gustavo Lazzaretti from tomorrow’s game. “We have some players with three yellow cards but we have no suspensions and we have Subrata Paul and Gustavo out. I believe Nico [Velez] will be okay for tomorrow,” he said.

Report and Photo Courtesy: ISL Media