I-League 2017: Indian Arrows' Floyd Pinto - Nongdamba Naorem's goal was one of the best

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The Goa-based assistant coach was satisfied by the youngsters' performance and also confirmed the return of De Matos for the Mohun Bagan game...

It had been almost a month since the Indian Arrows last won a match in the I-League 2017-18 with their sole victory coming in opeing match against Chennai City.

After that prolonged lull, the All India Football Federation's (AIFF) development side silenced the critics with a thumping 3-0 victory over Shillong Lajong at the Ambedkar Stadium on Tuesday and assistant coach Floyd Pinto could not have been more delighted with his troops.

Put in-charge after head coach Luis Norton de Matos was excused for the holiday festivities, Pinto, formerly the head coach of the India U-19 team, spoke at length in the post-match press conference after the win..

"It was a game between the two most young sides in the I-League so we focused on being organized. If the boys are up for it, we can do anything. What satisfies me though is that the boys were able to carry out the training ground movements and they gave that little bit extra, which led us over the line. The substitutes came on and they also made a difference. We kept the ball well and we literally played Shillong out of the game"

"This team has been groomed pretty well since the U-17 World Cup and now the U-19 boys have also joined the group. The strong point is their organisation and what we worked in training was to be patient. Today they were confident and focused and Jitu (Jitendra Singh) took the decision to go forward and score, where he should have been outplayed by Laurence Doe and Juho. That is the extra I am talking about", he said.

Floyd Pinto Indian Arrows Shillong Lajong I-League 2017/18

Aged 16 years, six months and 13 days, Jitendra Singh became the youngest goalscorer in the league's history. Nongdamba Naorem displayed tremendous individual skill going past four men to score late in regulation time and Rahul Kannoly put the final nail in the coffin with an injury-time goal.

He added, "Rahul and Nongdamba were pretty good in the last two training sessions and in fact they scored three goals combined in it. I needed to get their reaction on the pitch as they were itching to get game time. Defense is not the only option for us. We could not have kept the 1-0 lead if we had dropped back. Nongdamba's goal was one of the best in I-League and if Rahul connects well it is difficult for any keeper to save that. They had a point to prove after the last match and I am happy that they did it."

"I told them that they need to help the wings back at first and then it is up to you, what you do. I did not ask Nongdamba to do that. If any coach can ask that then he is a genius."

"Our defense played wonderfully and therefore Jitu is the man of the match. For a player of his stature, it is difficult to play centre back but, he makes it look so easy by reading the game well. He is not the captain but he leads by example. The whole unit has been playing as a whole since the world cup and that unity showed today"

Jitendra Singh Indian Arrows Shillong Lajong I-League 2017/18

"We need to maintain this performance. They are next playing Mohun Bagan away. They do not need any extra motivation when they will be playing against them but can they repeat their performance? If they can repeat their performance, that would be a big improvement"

"We always need to rotate as two days is not enough for these players to recover. Some players will again take the field and within these two days, we will assess. These players are honest and upfront and if they say they are ready that means they are ready", he expressed.

He also revealed, "Matos has taken off for personal reasons. But he has constantly been in touch with us in all training sessions and even while we were working on the opponent. He is very happy with today's performance. He will be back for the Mohun Bagan game."

Jitendra Singh said, " Our coach said that everyone will get playing time. Deepak when he came on he played well. It is good if two players are competing for the same position. In that way, we can improve more."

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