NorthEast United FC’s latest recruit, Tomi Juric, has made an impressive debut in the Indian Super League (ISL), securing four goals in his initial three matches. Notably, his stellar performances unfolded in the last two games against East Bengal FC and Mohun Bagan SG, both of which he started, achieving a brace against each of the Kolkata-based clubs.

A pivotal figure in Australia's victorious AFC Asian Cup campaign in 2015 and a member of the FIFA World Cup squad in 2018, Tomi Juric brings a wealth of international experience to NorthEast United FC. The 32-year-old striker has showcased his skills in various leagues, including stints in Croatia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and his native Australia. Before joining NorthEast United FC in the winter transfer window, Juric was part of the A-League club Melbourne Victory during the 2022-23 season.

After NorthEast United FC’s defeat against Mohun Bagan SG in Kolkata, Juric caught up with indiansuperleague.com, where he spoke about his experience in the ISL, NorthEast United FC's chances of making the top six and more.

Excerpts:

Thoughts on their defeat against Mohun Bagan SG?

We conceded goals in important moments against Mohun Bagan SG. We draw the game at 2-2, and we conceded a few minutes later, and then, we concede another one. We just made it very difficult for ourselves. We have to concentrate more on those crucial moments, which are those aspects of the game, and it's something that we'll work on.

You have four goals in three matches so far. How do you look at it?

For me personally, it's been good. It's a good beginning. But I look at it as a collective (effort), as a group, and as a team. I think we need to perform much better. We have to stay defensively stronger, and that's something we need to work on. But in that regard, on my end, things are settling in well and things are moving forward.

Which ISL goal have you enjoyed the most so far?

I enjoyed every one of them. As an attacker and a striker, all goals are really important for me. I would choose the first one because it was my first goal in India. And also, the second goal against East Bengal FC, because obviously it's won me the Fans' Goal of the Week. So that was a really nice and lovely touch. But I think my second goal against Mohun Bagan SG was also beautiful. I really enjoyed that one.

What difference have you notied in the A-League (in Australia) and the ISL?

I think it's still a little bit early to say. I'd like to experience the league (ISL) a little bit more, but I know the A-League is very demanding, both tactically and physically. Not to say that the ISL is not, but I find it a little bit more attractive for an attacking player. There's a lot of opportunity and chance (in the A-League), and that's something I'm looking forward to in the league (ISL).

How do you look at NorthEast United FC's chances of finishing in the top six?

We know it's difficult but we have the opportunity to do well and give ourselves a chance for the top six. There are a lot of teams that are fighting for the spot, but ultimately, if we perform on the field, that will give us the platform to hopefully have a chance of going into the top six.

How difficult was it joining a team in the January transfer window and adjusting to the team?

It's been difficult. The last seven to eight months were very difficult (for me) without a team or club (but I had) to keep on the discipline (off the pitch) and keep training and have the belief that something will pop up. During the winter break, I had a few opportunities, and I knew something good would come. And this was, for me, one of the most appealing ones. And I knew I just had to keep working, have faith, and the opportunities would come. And now I think I'm trying to do my best to help the team as much as possible. I'm grateful for my goals. They're important as a team aspect, of course, to win games. But most importantly, we need to work on our tactical and defensive aspects.