The 50-year-old is confident in the squad this season and says there will be no added pressure when they face the defending champions.

NorthEast United FC start their Indian Super League campaign against Bengaluru FC away from home. Ahead of the crucial clash, head coach Robert Jarni and winger Panagiotis Triadis interacted with the media speaking about their aspirations this season.

Robert Jarni’s men start their campaign away from home playing against the reigning champions and it is going to be a challenge for the Highlanders to come home with all three points. However Jarni feels there is no added pressure on them.

Playing against the champions away from home

“We have to play in every single stadium away and so there is no good or bad way to start. We have to win every game to be in the top four. There is a long off-season break, so we are working with the team for a month and a half. The team is young and motivated to play well, but this is our first season with the team, new players so we need time.”

“Both teams had a lot of changes this season and it will be a different game from last season. We feel we can do something good against them. So, we are confident and motivated to bring all three points home,” the 50-year-old added.

Absence of vital players for the opposition

Players like Udanta Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan, Rahul Bheke and Sunil Chhetri were with the national team and did not get much time to train with Carles Cuadrat and the other Bengaluru FC players. The former Croatia U-20 head coach feels that it is a slight advantage for his side going into the game.

“Yes, it is a little advantage for us because as a coach you would love to have all the players in training. But, then they all are experienced players and have been with the squad for some time and the coach knows them well. I don’t think it will change the result of the game.”

Triadis’ aspirations from this season

“Yes! of course, you never want to end the season on a loss. We made history last season, qualifying for the playoffs for the first time. But, this year it is completely different. There are so many new players with us, who did not play last year. Also, the Indian players have been together with the foreigners as a unit and follow whatever the coach says.

“Last season, I mostly played with (Federico) Gallego and honestly, I did not get to play that much as I wasn’t there for most of the season. This year, I am confident of proving to the coach that I deserve a chance. I think we have a good team and a good future ahead of us,” Triadis added on playing second-fiddle to Gallego last season.

Assessment of Indian players

When quizzed about the standout Indian talents from the current bunch of players, Robert Jarni seemed very impressed with the talent, but he refused to take a name.

“There are a few interesting players in the team. But, I don’t want to name anyone, as I feel a team should be known collectively. They are good and very dedicated in training. But, at the end of the day, it is in their hands, as we are here to only help them get better.”

On Asamoah Gyan’s fitness and gameplay

When Asamoah Gyan joined NorthEast United there were questions about the Ghanaian’s fitness and Jarni shed further light on the matter.

“He is training hard and every day he is improving. Not only Asamoah, but every player is looking good and fit. He has been without action for a long time, so they are working hard to get back to shape.”

“We are working on the overall game. We are improving every day and it is not about Asamoah to be happy, but it is about everyone associated with the club to be happy with the way we play,” Robert Jarni stated on the lack of creativity in midfield for Gyan to get proper supply.

“We are prepared for the game, but I cannot evaluate it. In football every game is different and you cannot predict anything from earlier. We will always go for the win and three points, but you never know,” the Croatian tactician concluded.