NorthEast United FC head coach Juan Pedro Benali anticipates a tough match against Hyderabad FC in the Indian Super League at the GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium in Hyderabad on Monday.

The Highlanders are coming off an incredible victory against FC Goa before taking on Hyderabad FC in their 17th game of the season. With an unbeaten record in eight of their last nine encounters against the Yellow and Black, they are determined to extend their streak in the quest for a top-six spot.

Despite the absence of senior players, Hyderabad FC have displayed promising performances, particularly with their young Indian talents such as Makan Chothe, Abdul Rabeeh, and Ramhlunchhunga.

Benali has not only acknowledged his opponent's strengths but has also analyzed how Hyderabad FC players consistently pose formidable challenges against other teams.

“Teams have won against Hyderabad FC, but they have suffered. They have some very good young Indian talented players. It’s going to be a very tricky game, because they have nothing to lose, and everything to gain at this moment,” Benali stated in the pre-match press conference.

He also noticed his opponent’s quick movement with the ball, as he wanted his players to stay focused on their game throughout the 90 minutes to secure three crucial points.

“They (Hyderabad FC) are a very good team; they play very fast football, and they are not an easy team at all. They have very talented young players; they run a lot; and if you let them play, they will kill you. They have nothing to lose, (but) everything to win,” he added.

In their recent encounter against the Gaurs, Benali's team put an end to their 24-game winless streak in away fixtures with a convincing 2-0 victory in Goa. As they prepare for their second consecutive away game, the Spaniard emphasized that he doesn't perceive any difference when playing away from home. He urged his players to keep things simple and stick to their natural game.

“There is no difference between playing a game at home or away, except (for) the trip,” he commented.

“Inside the field, it’s almost the same, as there is always 11 vs 11. You need to play with the game plan you have, keep believing in yourself, and be hungry; that’s the most important,” he continued.

The head coach expressed words of praise for Redeem Tlang, highlighting his satisfaction with the winger's hard work and commitment. Speaking in context, he said,

“Redeem (Tlang) is a great player, and more than a great player, he’s a great person.”

“He is now doing very well; he’s working very hard. I am proud of him and what he’s doing. For now, he’s in it all the time. I hope he continues like this,” he concluded.

We are fighting a lot to be in the top six: Redeem Tlang


Redeem Tlang accompanied his head coach ahead of their away game against Hyderabad FC. Tlang has played 11 matches thus far this season and has one assist to his name. The assist came in their 3-2 win against East Bengal FC.

The winger, who has been a regular in the starting eleven lately, has also set his sights on securing their spot in the playoffs.

“Yes, now we are fighting a lot to be in the top six," he said.

“There are a lot of teams, and we are fighting with 4-5 teams. It is important for us too. We have to prepare one match at a time. If we win, then it is good,” he signed off.