NEUFC coach Nelo Vingada : Our target is to reach the final

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NEUFC coach Nelo Vingada : Our target is to reach the final

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SportsCafe Desk


Ahead of their opening match of the ISL against Kerala Blasters, North East United head coach Nelo Vingada talked about his team’s aspiration of reaching the final in this edition. The Portuguese manager also said that he was pleasantly surprised by the Indian talent available at his disposal.

North East United have not had a great start to their ISL story - the club finished last in the inaugural edition collecting just 15 points from their 16 matches and lost out on a playoff spot in the next year despite a late comeback that saw them finish 2 points behind Delhi Dynamos, who grabbed the last play-off spot.

Portuguese man Nelo Vingada has been hired with the sole aim of taking the team farther than that this season. The 63-year old understands the significance of a winning start as he rallies his troops for the tough campaign. He said,“We play in our home our city tomorrow and we’ll play with determination to win and get full points. Our target is to reach the semis and reach the final and for that we need to win games, especially the first game,” in an exclusive to the ISL website.

When asked about having to play following the commencement of the opening ceremony and if his players would be under more pressure than usual to produce a performance, Vingada answered, “No. Look, to be honest, with or without the ceremony, the pressure for me is the same. I hope the opening ceremony will be a fantastic one for everyone. But it doesn’t bring more pressure. For me, the pressure begins at 7’o clock. For me and the players it’s the same.”

In the last year’s corresponding fixture, Kerala had thrashed NorthEast 4-1 with Chris Dagnall scoring a brace. The 2014 finalists had their pre-season training in Thailand while NorthEast prepared for the tournament in Dubai, but 63-year-old manager emphasised that there was just a small advantage the home team had.

“We made our preparations in Dubai, they [Kerala Blasters] made theirs in Thailand. I don’t think we have a great advantage other than the home advantage. It can be a small advantage tomorrow,” he said.

The former Saudi Arabia and Portugal boss explained that his team could play in many different styles owing to the variety of players at his disposal, although he did say that he would prefer his team playing out from the back. The team's chances look drastically improved after their acquisition of Mohun Bagan star Katsumi Yusa this season.

I tried to build the team with a good balance between different sectors. So I don’t want to give any special attention to attack or defence. My concept of football is start building the team with strong organisation. Start from defence.


“I am not saying we won’t be playing attacking football. We will attack or counter-attack according to the situation. In the forward line we have faster players. Everybody knows Nicolas Velez, Sasha Aneff is a real number 9, big and tall, so we have different players.”

“In midfield, most of you know Yusa Kastumi, he is very fast with or without the ball. Didier Zokora is more pass and move. I honestly have good balance. The quality of Indian players is better than I expected, to be honest,” he added.

But it wasn’t just the foreign players who impressed Vingada. The Indian players in the team have left their own impression on the new manager, who seems to have already made up his mind for the Indian contingent in the team.

Vingada said, “I tried to bring in some foreigner players. I tried more foreigners in the centre and more local players on the left and right. Right-back, Left-back, Right-Wing, Left-Wing, we have good options with Indian boys,” reported the ISL site.

Vingada added that the Indian Super League was an excellent promotion for the game of football in India and that it would be the quality of football that would attract the masses.

“I hope tomorrow is a great day for India, maybe a new time, a new era…I hope the first game can be a great game to promote football. Quality football will bring more fans to the game. More fans means better reward for football,” he concluded.

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