On the back of his side’s resilient 1-0 win over Mumbai City FC, Northeast United coach Gerard Nus expressed sheer delight over his team’s performance and claimed that the win is just the start of a great season for NEUFC. The NorthEast side pipped Mumbai via a 49th minute Kwesi Appiah penalty.
After a disappointing 2019/20 season, NorthEast United FC endured the perfect start to their 2020/21 ISL campaign as they edged a strong Mumbai City FC side 1-0 at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Goa on Saturday. NEUFC were content to play the counter-attacking game and while for 42 minutes the match was in balance, a direct red card in the 43rd minute for Mumbai midfielder Ahmed Jahouh tilted the encounter in the NorthEast side’s favour.
Six minutes later, a handball from Rowllin Borges inside the box resulted in a penalty for NEUFC, which was converted flawlessly by Kwesi Appiah, who put the designated hosts ahead. The penalty, eventually, proved to be too much for a 10-man Mumbai side, who failed to make further inroads as NEUFC held to take home all three points.
Speaking in the aftermath of the game, NEUFC coach Gerard Nus expressed delight over his side’s professional showing and claimed that the Mumbai victory will just be the start of a good season for NEUFC.
“I just think that we played a competitive game. We knew what we were expecting from a brilliant side like Mumbai City and we followed the plan. The players did a fantastic job and I am so pleased with all of them,” Nus said after the game, reported Goal.com.
“Even the guys who didn’t get too much time and the guys who didn’t play at all were constantly pushing from the bench. This is just the start for a good season for NorthEast United. I am happy but we need to keep improving at the same time.”
The 35-year-old admitted that the rub of the green on Saturday went his side’s way, but insisted that it is important for any side to maintain concentration and remain professional despite having a one-man advantage.
“A penalty and a sending off are always the moments of any football game that can make things go in another team’s favour but in the end, there are other moments. If you just relax obviously a team like this will punish you so we kept that mentality and we were switched on all the time and we were really strong.”
NEUFC’s next assignment will be against the Kerala Blasters, who on Friday lost their opening fixture against ATK Mohun Bagan, but Nus played down suggestions that his side will be favourites heading into Thursday’s clash. The NEUFC coach claimed that he is prepared for a very tough encounter against a side that has ‘good principles’.
“No, we are not favourites. In the upcoming game, Kerala Blasters are going to be even tougher than this fixture. In many ways, we are in a different position than them.
“Their budget is much bigger than and we know our identity. We will try to do the best we can but in no way are we favourites. I saw the game last night. They have good principles of the game. They will only get stronger and will be on top of the ladder. I am just concerned about how we can deal with the upcoming game but I know they are going to be so tough and they are going to be on the top.”