NorthEast United FC head coach Marco Balbul urged his player to be cautious and mitigate their mistakes in the fight for their first points of the season, as his side squares off against Odisha FC in matchweek 9 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Kalinga Stadium, in Bhubaneswar, on Friday.

Balbul reiterated that everyone in the team is working extremely hard and everyone is motivated to get their first victory of the season on board. Further, the Israeli looked at the January transfer window as an opportunity to strengthen his side that will help them better their current situation. The 55-year-old addressed the media as he attended the official pre-match press conference alongside midfielder Pragyan Gogoi ahead of the Odisha FC match.

Here are the excerpts from their press conference:

It’s been a tough time for your side. You are facing Odisha FC in the upcoming game who have been in the top half of the table. What are your thoughts on that?

Balbul: As you said, they are having a pretty good season. They are three points (away) from the top of the table. They have a good coach, a good, deep squad, but we should focus on ourselves to be very organised, to avoid from (making) mistakes in defence like we did in the game against Mumbai City FC. (We) have to come, fight, and do our best to win this game.

The team played well against Mumbai City FC in the last game. Are you comfortable with the team’s performance?
Balbul: After I saw the first half against Mumbai City FC, I really have confidence in my team. We showed good ability in the first half, good quality of football, great finishing from Parthib (Gogoi). As I said, we need to avoid individual mistakes in defence because we have conceded too many goals. To win points, we need to keep a clean sheet otherwise it will be difficult.      

Do you have a different set of supporting staff right now? How has it been affecting your preparation?

Balbul: I think we have a good staff in the team that have helped me a lot. In the preparation, it’s the same, the players are showing good motivation in training, they have been working very hard. As I said, I cannot complain about their efforts on the pitch, you can see in every game that they fight until the end. It's not easy, we have to keep going, stay united, and continue our motivation because we believe that we can change things on the pitch.

Also, I believe that in January, we can make some changes in the entire team, to upgrade and make a better balance in the team. So, I am motivated, the players are motivated, the staff is motivated. We will keep going, stay and still fight in every game and then we’ll change the situation.

How are you coping with the team’s current situation?

Gogoi: Yes, it’s difficult. We know the results are not on our side and most of the time, we are unlucky. We are focused on the next match, Odisha FC is a good team, they are doing well in this season. We will give our best to get our first points in the next match.