NorthEast United have lost four of their last five games but head coach Robert Jarni refuses to give up on hopes for a spot in the playoffs of the 2019-20 Indian Super League (ISL).
The Highlanders, who are currently ninth with 11 points from 10 games, face Chennaiyin FC (12 points from 11 games) in Chennai on Thursday with the hosts also looking to strengthen their chances of making it into the knockout round.
Ahead of the tie, Jarni stated, "We lost our opportunity at the beginning of the championship (season) when we lost a couple of matches in last seconds of the game. We have a very young and promising team. We lost Asamoah Gyan. Who is not here, we must do without him.
"We are expecting a very tough game tomorrow (Thursday). Chennaiyin, with their new coach (Owen Coyle), looks very good but we also believe in our qualities. We must be in the first (top) four, which means that we have to win, and that's why we are here.
"We lost a lot of quality players in previous seasons but we also believe in our young players to come good. This is also for them a great experience and with that experience, they will become much better," the Croat said.
The Highlanders boss also confirmed that they have signed a replacement for Gyan. "The new player (Andy Keogh) is here with us. We hope that he will play tomorrow," he said.