Defending champions Aizawl FC are in a winless streak of eight matches which they hope to end when they host Indian Arrows at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, on Friday. Aizawl are currently seventh placed with 18 points from 15 games and a win against Arrows will catapult them to the fifth position, whereas a loss or even a draw will only fuel the panic of getting relegated. Head coach Santosh Kashyap acknowledged this in the pre-match press conference and insisted that his team will go for the kill right from the first whistle.
"A very big match at a very crucial stage. We could have won in Goa and lost by a narrow margin in Shillong. Tomorrow is a must-win game for us. They (Indian Arrows) are a talented side and are playing good football. But we will try to make use of home advantage and go for a win," said Kashyap.
The former Mumbai FC coach pointed that injuries to key players are harming their league campaign, but the young players are ready to fill in their shoes.
"I had only four training sessions with the team. We were travelling all along. Injury is our biggest concern. Eight players are out. But we have young talented players who can win the game for us. I have shared my ideas with them. Yes they lack experience but I am confident with them. They are adapting to it and are trying to implement it.
"Masih (Saighani) is not well, as has a stomach upset and will not start tomorrow. Chidi (Edeh) has been signed but he is still struggling with visa issues. Hopefully we can have him next week," informed the coach about the availability of foreigners.
Kashyap made it clear that his primary concern is the near future as the players are slowly adapting to a new style and is not yet ready to think about Super Cup.
"I am taking one match at a time. I am not thinking about Super Cup or top four. We are in the relegation zone so we have to win each match and then move up in the table. We had to play in Goa in hot and humid conditions. Tomorrow we will use our home conditions and try to play a different style of football. Hope we get a positive result," said the man who replaced Paulo Menses.
Leonce Dodoz was in no mood to comapare the two coaches and instead focused on earning full points tomorrow.
"As professional players we have to adapt to different coaches very quickly. We have no time to judge coaches. Every coach plays with a new idea and style. I think we are in the right way and hopefully we get the three points," said the striker.
Whereas Indian Arrows head coach Luis Norton de Matos continued to harp on his idea of gaining experience and also mentioned that '15 points are good' enough for his side.
"I'm really glad to be here in Aizawl and I am very proud of the boys. We cannot forget that this is not a senior team and we want to learn and progress in football. After 16 games the expectation was less than what we achieved and 15 points are good. Every team in the league depends on alot on foreigners and we have no foreigners.
"Our main aim is not the points but the development of the boys. We have to think the development of all the boys. After two to three years, these boys will develop to another level", Matos stressed on the development than the points accumulated this season," stated Matos.
Edmund Lalrindika, who opened his account against Aizawl in the last match, shed light on the difficulty of playing Aizawl in their home.
"If we can play our game, I know we can win but it won't be an easy game as Aizawl FC always have a huge crowd," said Edmund.