The Highlanders have won their third straight game on the road and sit top of the table.
It was another heartbreak for Delhiites on Tuesday evening as NorthEast United pipped Delhi Dynamos in their own den winning 0-2 in a riveting Indian Super League match. The visitors looked more comfortable in the first half. although both sides had their moments.
After the interval, Josep Gombau’s side tried to take the game to the opposition, but Eelco Schattorie’s Highlanders displayed a calm demeanour, breaking the deadlock in the 82nd minute and sealing the game late on..
Speaking to the media at the post-match press conference Josep Gombau expressed his emotions after his team’s third loss of the season. “Yes, disappointing result. We didn’t get the result we expected. First half NorthEast was the better team, second half we started strong. We had our moments in the game. After that two mistakes and we conceded two goals.”
“Yes, one-third of the league is gone. We have to start well, need to work hard, be focused. We need to concentrate more and try to get the results in our next games,” he also added.
On being asked about Delhi’s realistic target this season the Spanish tactician said, “Look, we need to start winning. We haven’t started well in the season. We need to take it game-by-game, remain focused, work hard.”
Watch: Delhi Dynamos 0-2 NorthEast United highlights
The Delhi gaffer doesn’t think the pollution in the city should be much of a reason to worry about. “That is something we cannot worry about so much. We are taking all necessary precautions doing our training sessions, playing the games. Some of the players are wearing them (masks) to adjust their body against pollution risks. But, we can’t do anything.”
Gombau also praised his side and felt they need to work much harder going further into the campaign. “(Lallianzuala) Chhangte is a young player. He can become one of the best wingers in the country. He’s a top talent, He’s very young. Today, I felt he was a bit tired. So, I subbed him for Romeo (Fernandes) who plays in a same position, thinking we might add something to the game.”
“Yes lack of goals has been a problem for us. I don’t want to call that lack of experience. We want to grow with each game, get better and better, need to pass, shoot, go one-on-one. We are a young squad and they need games to grow. I am happy with all my boys. Sounds strange maybe because we are not winning. But, everybody is bringing 100%. This is the profession of football,” he concluded.
Notching up his third consecutive away win this season, NorthEast United’s head coach Eelco Schattorie kept his emotions in check despite being a happy man.
“First of all, I apologize for the comments I made in yesterday’s press conference. What I meant was Delhi has a good team and not anything else, but somehow the message got misinterpreted and I apologize for that,” he said explaining his comment stating that if he were managing the Lions they would be in the top three.
“Regarding the game, we had some suspensions, so we did not have regular centre-backs. So, we played a more direct game changing the system to 4-4-2 and our plan worked well,” he started describing the game.
“We hardly gave any chances away. That was my biggest worry because Delhi likes to play football in good tempo, but we closed them down perfectly in my opinion. I don’t think they had a single big chance and that is due to good organization.” He continued, “Second half we sat back a little more. First half we pressed more physically and then you need to take breathers, eventually got those two goals and I think we deserved it.”
The gaffer was all praise for his little midfielder Puitea who did a commendable job after coming off the bench. “I would like to give a very special positive message to one of my midfielders, Puitea (Lalthathanga Khawlhring), only 20 years old, the way he conducted himself, being in control of the midfield in a game like this, is really really good. He was fantastic.”
The Dutchman explained how he utilized his limited resources to the fullest. “Just before half-time, we lost our centre-back (Gurwinder Singh) and Leudo, who plays in the midfield, covered that spot up as we had no other option on the bench. I can only be very very happy with this result. Away game, clean-sheet, young player comes in and does fantastic and we score two goals.”
On being asked about how he manages to handle the situation after his game and not let the emotions run to his head Schattorie said, “You would be very proud if you know how we have gelled together overcoming those obstacles. The players, the staff, the whole team can be proud of what we have achieved till now. Nobody would have given us a chance. But, it’s a long road. I am a very realistic person, who looks at the positives rather than the negatives. We’ll see how it goes.”