ISL 2018-19: Shaun Ontong - It was a fatigued team out there

ISL Media
NorthEast United assistant coach Shaun Ontong finds the international break to be 'unique'...

NorthEast United succumbed to their third successive draw when they were held 0-0 by ATK at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati.

Assistant coach Shaun Ontong was a happy man even after dropping two points as this was the third match that his men played in a span of eight days. 

"You don't really get into the game to get a draw but considering our schedule we are extremely happy and proud of the guys. I think you saw a fatigued team out there tonight. We did not create many chances as we would like to do but we definitely defended well and dominated the game," stated Ontong. 

Mislav Komorski had to substituted at half-time as the defender had an issue with his hamstring. The assistant coach informed that the extent of the injury is yet to be assessed and will be done by Sunday morning. 

With 20 points the Highlanders are currently second in the league table and are hoping to make their first playoff appearance since the advent of the Indian Super League (ISL). But the Australian coach refused to accept that the team management is looking forward to any magic number of points which would ensure a safe passage. 

"There isn't really any calculation. Although it is a cliche that taking one game at a time but to be honest that is actually the case. We are not looking too far ahead. We had a really tough schedule and at the moment we do get some rest before heading out to Goa. Really looking forward to seeing out the first two-thirds of the season and get back working once again," said Ontong. 

The 31-year old player-turned manager termed the ensuing international break to be 'unique' as he is yet to come across such a lengthy layoff in any league. 

"I don't think the break would break the momentum of a team. It is a very unique break. I have not been to many competitions where there is a break like this. But the players will be prepared and well rested for the next set of games," signed off the coach.