Bartholomew Ogbeche: We cannot be complacent

With their qualification to the semi-finals already in the bag, NorthEast United FC will be on the road to play against Kerala Blasters FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Saturday. The match will be of little consequence for the Highlanders, but Eelco Schattorie and Co. will look for a victory to garner some winning momentum heading into the semis.

Before the match, caught up with NorthEast's star striker Bartholomew Ogbeche for an exclusive pre-match interview. Here are the excerpts.

How is the mood in the camp with NorthEast United FC having qualified for the semi-finals for the first time in the club's history?

We are feeling great. It has been an amazing atmosphere as we made this history. We simply want more and we want to keep that going.

What can we expect from NorthEast United FC in the match?

We have to win. Winning is a habit and we need to make winning a habit. The pressure is off and we have a match to go. We do not want to get into the habit of being complacent and then come over here to lose the match. That goes against the mental strength. So, we want to win and we are here to win, to get the three points and build upon our momentum.

What are you expecting from Kerala Blasters FC, especially with Nelo Vingada at the helm?

This is a new Kerala Blasters FC from the one the league has been used to before the international break. They're particularly strong at home. We shouldn't be carried away by their result from the last match. That is not the Kerala Blasters FC we have seen, not since the international break. So, we expect a tough match. We know that they have one of NorthEast United FC's former head coaches. So, we will expect quality and they will want to end the season on a high in front of their home fans. So, we expect a tough match. It won't be easy for us but we won't make it easy for them either.

You are in the race for the Golden Boot with Ferran Corominas and Modou Sougou. Do you take this as a personal challenge?

Not at all. The only personal challenge is to surpass me. I have to do better for myself. So, the pressure comes from me before I look towards any opponent or any player. It is also true that I use players to motivate myself, be it in football or any other sports that I follow like basketball, NFL and many more. The personal challenge is to get better every day. I constantly seek improvement and I am up for the race. It's true I am not there yet but I have to try as much as possible to do better every time and in doing so, I have to help my team to win matches.

Read the Match Preview here.

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