Jarni: We believe we can do something good against Bengaluru
NorthEast United FC begin their Hero ISL 2019-20 journey with a tough away fixture against defending champions Bengaluru FC on Monday, October 21. The Highlanders reached their first-ever Hero ISL semi-finals last season and will be looking to do better this term, albeit with a very new-look setup, which includes Ghanaian star Asamoah Gyan and a new head coach in Robert Jarni.
Jarni attended his first-ever Hero ISL pre-match press conference accompanied by Panagiotis Triadis, a few days prior to the match. Asked if the prospect of meeting the defending champions in the very first match of the season was a tall order both for him and the team, the Croat opined, "It’s difficult to be on the road. You have to play in every single stadium away. So, there is no good or bad way to start. You have to play against everyone in the league. We have to try and win every game if we want to be in the top four. We are working with the team for the last month and a half. It's a young team and we are still trying to teach them how we want them to play. The start is going to be difficult. It’s my first season with the team."
Speaking about the opponents, Bengaluru, and his own squad, the World Cup bronze medallist stated, "Bengaluru have some changes from the last season. NorthEast also have a different head coach, different players. It’s going to be a different game compared to last season. The match is one of the most exciting ties we can play in the season because they are the defending champions. So, we can’t wait to start against them. It's going to be a beautiful game. And we believe we can do something good against them. So, we are very confident, and we will try our best to bring the three points."
Delving into the team's preparedness for the task at hand, Jarni said, "We can say that we are prepared in every way possible. But when you go to the game, every game is different. It’s not only you who will be playing. You are playing against the opponents. It’s the first game, so you don’t have much information about the opponents. We are prepared for the game, we are prepared for the win."
Bengaluru missed several key players during their pre-season due to a number of them playing for the national team. Quizzed if that may serve as an advantage for his team, Jarni commented, "Yes, it could be a little advantage for us because you want to have the full squad at every training, every game. Maybe for them, it’s a weak point because they couldn’t have the full squad since the beginning because of the international breaks. But they are very experienced players. They know the coach. They were at the club last season. It’s not going to make a big difference at the end of the game, I think."
Incidentally, it was Bengaluru who knocked out NorthEast last season in the semi-final stage. Winger Panagiotis Triadis, who was a part of the Highlanders squad last season too, when asked if it would be a factor playing on the players' mind, remarked, "Yes, you never like to end the season in a loss."
However, he added that this was a fresh start from the team and everyone is confident of doing well going into the fixture. "Last season we made history to reach the semi-finals. So, that was very great on our side. But this is a completely different season, completely different team. There are not many players from last season who are with us this term, both Indians as well as foreign players. So, we just have to be together as a unit and do what coach says. I think we will have a good game."