Ricki Herbert: We will play exciting, attacking brand of football

Ricki Herbert

Ricki Herbert looked determined to put up a fight against table-toppers Chennaiyin FC ahead of a crucial encounter at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium. “We are going to play an exciting, attacking brand of football. We will come hard at Chennaiyin FC and I do not see why, in this intensely competitive league, we cannot come away with all three points.” The NorthEast United FC gaffer also pointed out that though his side was extremely disappointed after their defeat against Delhi, he was still confident in their ability to qualify, “We have thirty-odd thousand fans who turn up every game to support us. We cannot disappoint them. You shall not be let down by the game we will play tomorrow. If we take it one game at a time, we have a chance.”

When asked about the lack of a cutting edge in his striking department, the ex-New Zealand international defender remarked, “I think we are a few players short in some departments. It’s all about tweaking some areas of the team, which I think can happen next season. Right now, we are focussed on providing the young boys with as much exposure as possible so that they can go on and put it to good use.” He also stated that it was important for his team to learn from their mistakes and apply themselves diligently. “If we can convert even a small percentage of the chances that we create, I believe that we can do well. It is imperative that the boys should learn why we are in this position and not repeat the mistakes.”

The former New Zealand coach also responded to a question about his side playing a good brand of football and not getting the right result. “It is good to know that people recognise our good brand of football. I am not going to change the way we play. Playing long balls and punting it upfield has never benefitted a team in the long run. We are so close to being a good all-round team. It is important to believe in the philosophy and stay true to it even when you fail. I believe that we will eventually come good.”

Seiminlen Doungel, NorthEast United’s young midfielder, had scored a screamer against Chennaiyin FC when the two teams last met, in a 2-2 draw in Chennai on November 8, and he was confident his team could repeat that performance. “Scoring against Chennaiyin does give me a lot of confidence. If the coach picks me, I’ll try my best to score again and ensure that we take home all the three points. It is all about taking our chances. We know what we have to do. We cannot wait to go out there and play.”

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