Guwahati: NorthEast United FC are ready to face Kerala Blasters, the team who they played in their Indian Super League (ISL) opener and lost 1-3, and would ideally want to have their revenge here on Sunday.
NorthEast United FC are enjoying a three-match unbeaten streak which includes two victories (Chennaiyin FC and Atletico de Kolkata) in a row away and a convincing draw against Delhi Dynamos. The loss in the opener seems a very long time ago as the team has undergone massive transformation since the start of the league.
"All victories and losses are in the past. We are focusing only on this game, which is different and one where all our players are available. When we played Kerala, we missed eight players and we were playing our debut game. Tomorrow, whoever shows up with the best attitude will win and we hope that it will be us," NorthEast coach Cesar Farias said on Saturday.
NorthEast United are presently fifth in the points table with 13 points from nine matches. Depending on other results, a victory over Kerala Blasters can propel them to the top of the table, which will be astounding for a team that lost its first three matches.
"We have to take everything step by step, game by game. The focus now is solely on Kerala Blasters. The team is enjoying its good moments and we have to make the best out of it. We have to take the field with the same intensity as the last three matches. This game is like a final for us. These are very important three points," added Farias.
NorthEast United interestingly will play four of their remaining five matches at home which Farias pointed out was a "big positive".
Last year's runner-up, the Blasters are at the bottom of the pool with eight points from nine matches but coach Terry Phelan is not giving up hope.
"We have been playing some good football in the last couple of matches and hopefully we can keep going," said Phelan.
Assistant coach Trevor Morgan was also confident that a turnaround is possible.
"We know the position that we are in. We will try to get three points and there will not be any negativity. We have to win four of our last five games. If we do not do that, it will be very, very difficult. Of course in football anything is possible. Unless it's mathematically impossible, we have to keep believing we can do it," said Morgan.
Phelan confirmed that new signing Deepak Mondal is available for selection.
"NorthEast United is a good team. They have confidence at the moment and some great players. You cannot afford to switch off. You cannot sit back. We have to take the game forward and take the three points," said Phelan.