Can't criticise the players for their effort: NorthEast United FC’s Paul Groves

NorthEast United FC suffered their second-straight defeat in the 2022-23 Hero Indian Super League (ISL) as they went down to Hyderabad FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, in Guwahati, on Thursday.

The hosts displayed some great fightback in the second half despite trailing by a goal, but the Highlanders ran out of steam after strikes from Halicharan Narzary and Borja Herrera.

Match Report: Dominant Hyderabad FC brush aside NorthEast United FC in Guwahati

NEUFC assistant coach Paul Groves urged his side to regroup quickly and learn from mistakes as they face East Bengal FC in their next challenge.

Here are the excerpts from his press conference:

Where do you think it went wrong for NorthEast United FC?

First and foremost, it was a 100% effort from the players. I don't think you can criticise the players for their effort. Everybody gave their 100%. We were playing against the champions from last year, and I think they showed that at different times. They showed a degree of quality. I thought at times we showed some hard work, some endeavour, and a little bit of quality every now and then. We created one or two opportunities. If we're able to take one of those especially when Hyderabad FC were up 1-0, maybe the game is slightly different. But obviously that wasn't the case. And in the end, they showed why they were champions at times with their level of quality.

NorthEast United FC conceded due to individual errors. Do you think it was down to lapse in concentration?

You have to give them (Hyderabad FC) a little bit of credit. They put us under pressure in certain areas and made it difficult for us. That forced us into errors. I felt we perhaps should have worked the ball a little bit better through them at times. I think the big factor with regards to the errors that we made, enabled them to capitalise at times and cause a number of problems because they're ready to hurt you and they are ready to pounce.

Also Read: We deserved to win but it wasn't an easy game, says Hyderabad FC head coach Manolo Marquez

NorthEast United FC were unable to create a lot of chances. Do you think it made it difficult to get the win?

We were able to create a few chances, and at critical times in the game, and if we're able to take one of those, especially at 1-0, that may change the game. It may have been a slightly different game. I don't think you'll get away from the fact that they're champions for a reason. Their football was good. Majority of the time, they were in control of the game, but I felt we carried a threat in different areas. We had one or two opportunities, but I think when you play against a side as Hyderabad FC are at this moment in time, and where we are, we have to take those chances. Then that maybe can change, and give us something to hang on to, perhaps. But if you allow the game to get to 2-0, then it becomes difficult. The last thing you want to do against Hyderabad FC that can keep the ball is stop chasing it, and that's when you can get punished.

What are the positives you can take from this game?

We'll always try to take the positives. We created opportunities against what would be one of the best teams in the league. But, we have to analyse it, we have to learn from it, and we have to move on. We have to try to improve for sure. But there are positives that we can take from it. So we have to learn quickly, in terms of where we're at and in terms of the games we have played. It's a relatively new team. We need to pick up things quickly and move on to the next game, and hopefully improve.

Thoughts on your team's forwards who haven’t been able to score in the last two games?

The two games have been very different. If you look at the first game, for me, we had an opportunity to win the game and a minimum come away with a draw. Today, it's been a different game, a different type of game. A different type of opposition as well. So the main thing is the striker and the forwards are getting opportunities. If they don't take them sometimes, that happens in football, but we have to keep creating those opportunities to be able to register a goal and score. I'm sure in time that will come, but I think the hardest thing in football is to score. I think also what it comes down to is match sharpness and sharpness in front of goal. That's the last thing as well that comes in. Sometimes it’s that little bit of composure, that little bit of quality, that little bit of eye for goal. That's what we could do to set ourselves up and running.

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