I-League 2017: Bobby Nongbet aiming for a top three finish, Paulo Meneses wants Aizawl to defend as a team

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I-League
Both teams have their own injury issues to worry about but the head coaches are confident and ready for the match...

Shillong Lajong head coach Bobby Nongbet is looking forward to their I-League match against defending champions Aizawl FC on Monday. 

Speaking about the match, Shillong Lajong coach Bobby Nongbet said, "It is not an easy job. Aizawl is a very good team. I am considering what they have done in last two games. I believe it will be a top match against the home team."

"We are not sure [about Samuel Lalmuanpuia's injury], we are working on him. We are hoping he can make it."

The 19-year-old forward is the team's skipper and the coach justified his decision to give him the role. 

"He has been there for a long time at the club. He was leading the younger boys very well. He has been performing well consistently. We need somebody like him to lead the team."

Shillong Lajong are currently fourth in the league table and the coach said that his team is working their way towards a top three finish.

"We have been working for that [top spot]. We are fighting for the top three and hopefully, we will make it there. We will work very hard tomorrow [on Monday] and we expect three points," said Nongbet.

Aizawl FC coach Paulo Meneses has his own injury concerns ahead of their game against Lajong. Andre Ionescu has joined training but there are going to be several other absentees for the game on Monday.

"Let us see because Andre wasn't training for four weeks. His condition is better, he joined us yesterday. He is an option. Let us see. I will ask him tomorrow [on Monday] morning. David is out and his injury is severe. William didn't finish training today so let's see."

The coach of the defending champions is expecting a good game from both teams and called for the fans to come out in numbers and cheer for the side. 

"We know that they have very good players in attack - the wingers, midfielders and striker. I expect a very good game from both teams. We are ready for the game."

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"I expect more and more fans because their support is very important to us."

Talking about his strategy, Meneses stressed the importance of sticking together on the field in order to deal with Lajong's threat.

"I will never say I will stop Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. If you stop one opponent player, they have 10 others. We need to play and defend like a team. We need to stop not just Samuel. He is one very good player but they have more such players."

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