Khalid Jamil: We must not take Mumbai lightly

NorthEast United FC will be eager to maintain their unbeaten start to the season when they welcome Mumbai City FC to the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Wednesday. The Highlanders have done well to build on their historic Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 season by picking up eight points from their first four fixtures in the ongoing campaign. A win against the Islanders could take them to the top of table, although their assistant coach, Khalid Jamil advised caution ahead of the tie.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference, he said, “We have to think only one thing. This is a new game. You have to give your best. We must not take this team lightly at all and give our best. We must think positive. They have good, quality Indian players and also quality foreign players. So, we should not take them lightly. They are a good side.”

The 42-year-old then, claimed that the international break was useful for everyone in the league. “The break was useful for everyone. It was useful for us as well. Everyone got a rest. So, we will start fresh now.”

Sharing his opinion on whether the quality of the Hero ISL had grown this season, Jamil voiced, “Definitely, the quality has increased. Compared to last year, it is more competitive. Everybody is within touching distance of each other. You cannot take any team lightly. So, definitely the quality has increased.”

NorthEast’s assistant coach also felt that striker, Asamoah Gyan’s experience was vital for the development of the youngsters in his squad. “The motivation is definitely there playing with Gyan. He is a quality player. He has played in the World Cup. He gels well with everyone. And he also shares his experience and everyone listens to him. So, yes there are advantages of playing with him for young players.”

Jamil also elaborated on what sort of game everyone could expect from his side against Mumbai. “We will play like we normally do. We are playing against a good team. We should not take them lightly. This is our home match. We must think positive and move ahead.”

Midfielder Milan Singh was also in attendance at the pre-match briefing and expressed his views on his former side. “(Mumbai) are a really good team. They have a good coach and we respect him. This season I am playing for a different team. So, I don’t think about the opponent. So, I just keep focusing on giving my level best for NorthEast.”

The 27-year-old then spoke of the family-like bond that exists within the NorthEast squad. “We need to go further (than we are currently). Whatever we did, we did our best. We try to give more than 100% every time. We train hard. It is like a family here. So, as a whole, we play as a team. In all the games we won, it was all about the team.”

The midfielder also revealed NorthEast’s target for Hero ISL 2019-20, stating, “There is a lot of time in the league. It has just started. We are doing well with the squad. We want to reach the final. We want to break last season’s record and reach the final. That is our goal and belief.”

Read the Match Preview here.

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