Head coach Eelco Schattorie is not completely happy with their preparation during the break but hopes that the team will be showing the zeal that they did in the beginning of the season.
“We have reached the top four and we have done it through hard work. We have had time get to know each other and then we had the break. In the break, we tried to make a plan for the next part. We started the preparation in the last two weeks.
“The only thing that I didn’t like is that we played our two friendlies against low level opposition. That makes it difficult for the coach to assess the level of the team.
“The atmosphere is all good. I know what I can get from the players I have. Hopefully I can get to know the player who joined us recently and get him into the team as soon as possible. At the moment, I want to get some stability and that is difficult. We will see what happens tomorrow,” the Dutchman said.
Schattorie wants to focus on what his team can do rather than trying to guess what the opposition are up to. The NorthEast does not know what he can expect from the defending champions – who are currently at the bottom of the table.
“The opening game in any league, or the game after a long break is always important. They don’t know what to expect from us and we don’t know what to expect from them. Last year they were the champions and now they are in the last position.”
“So, I don’t know what their approach will be. Are they confident and trying to assert themselves or are they thinking about their poor form? I don’t know. The coach came here with only four foreigners. I don’t know what to expect from them. I can only prepare our team as good as I can and we will take it from there,” Eelco exclaimed.
Shouvik Ghosh and Panagiotis Triadis joined NorthEast United in the transfer window but the Dutchman has not assured anyone playing time. The boss maintained that the qualities of the players and their performances on the field will count for more than their experience in different leagues.
“We don’t have much time. So we can’t sit down and experiment. I hope we can implement (the signings) where we need them. A player always wants to come (and play). Also, he’s (Triadis) coming from the Greek league which is at a higher level than the ISL.”
“But you need to adjust and get to know your teammates and it’s the same for Shouvik (Ghosh). Whether someone is playing or not depends on what they show on the field.”
“At this moment, everything is fine. There are three players who just came from an injury, so they’re not fully fit and will not be able to play games yet.”
“I think they had a good run but they went out with a disappointment. So, I don’t know how it affected them. Rowllin (Borges) also played but then he missed part of our preparation. I hope he finds his form like he had in the first part of the league. And Chennaiyin, I hope they don’t have that form,” Eelco concluded.