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De Deus refreshed after positive break, Roca mulls goalkeeping options

Both managers emphasized on the likely importance of set-pieces in the match.

Ahead of Friday's Indian Super League (ISL) match between NorthEast United and Bengaluru FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, both managers met the media in the pre-match press-conferences

Highlanders boss Joao Carlos Pires de Deus sounded confident and looked forward to a fine show from his boys. "They (Bengaluru FC) are good opponents. But, we are better today than 15 days ago when we played Jamshedpur. For 15 days, we worked hard to create our own identity. We are better. I am sure that Bengaluru FC are also better than their first game."

The tactician also cleared the air regarding Holicharan Narzary's involvement with the team. "Holi [Holicharan] was a difficult process for us because he didn't attend the pre-season with us. He was always with the national team. He needed some time to understand our concepts and game strategy. So, he didn't start the first match. In the second, he played a bit more and then he started. So, he's settling down well with us and he's available for us again."

He was asked if BFC first-choice goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu's absence will be an advantage. "The advantage would be only if Bengaluru FC play without a goalkeeper. But, honestly, that won’t happen. They will have a goalkeeper. I don’t care about it because I must look at my team. If it's Calvin, Ralte, Gurpreet or anyone else, it’s for their coach to decide, not me. I know for sure that TP (Rehenesh) will be our goalkeeper and they will have one goalkeeper,” said the NEUFC coach.

De Deus also made it clear that there are no injury concerns for HIS TEAM and everybody IS fit for selection.

The NEUFC boss also pointed out the fact that set-pieces are going to be crucial for both the sides. "We know that BFC are very strong when it comes to set-pieces, both defensive and offensive. [Erik] Paartalu has three goals from set-pieces. We have prepared ourselves for that and also worked on our own set-pieces. Of course, we might suffer because they are a strong team but we will try to avoid that", he said.

Answering questions about Roca's method of possession play de Deus said, "When we have the ball, they defend and same goes around the other way. I have a plan for that as well. Hope it pays off tomorrow."


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Blues manager Albert Roca expressed his views about managing in the I-League as well as the ISL. "Well, there's not so much difference between the I-League and the ISL. I have a philosophy of football and I try to translate that to my teams. Though, circumstances are changing, you can have five foreigners, better pitches, but you have to see how the opponent is playing and try to manage the games as you like. Sometimes its possible, sometimes its not."

About the ongoing goalkeeping crisis in the Bengaluru camp, Roca felt sorry for having to confront such a situation. "For sure, I have some problems with my goalkeepers but these are circumstances that we cannot change now. I am confident in any of my four goalkeepers and that whoever plays will do his job well."

He added, "The main idea will be to score goals at the other end. I prefer to win 4-3 than 1-0. But, last game, things went the opposite way, we lost 4-3, which was not expected. This can happen frequently so we must work hard to avoid such situations."

The former Barcelona assistant coach heaped praise on captain Sunil Chhetri for his brilliant work-ethic and confirmed his availability. "Sunil is married and is available for the game tomorrow. I think he is the most professional player that I have seen in my life. Of course we understand his personal life, but he's equally ready to commit to the team. He will be ready for tomorrow."

Roca believes his team are making the most of set-pieces but is equally wary of the opposition's set-piece opportunities. "Set-pieces are something that works for us, but last game we ended up conceding in set-pieces. We must keep working on it to improve ourselves but its a part of football."

The Spaniard continued, "Surely, its not the only way to score. We expect a tough match tomorrow. They are a very organized team with a good coach; they too, are working on set-pieces. I was impressed with the way they won in Delhi."

Published: Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:07 PM IST

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