Robert Jarni: India doesn’t have another player like Lalengmawia
NorthEast United FC face off against Jamshedpur FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Monday. Both sides have no chance of making it to the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 semi-finals and will be playing to salvage some pride.
Reiterating his will to win the fixture, NorthEast head coach Robert Jarni, at the pre-match press conference, opined, “We don’t really have much pressure on us anymore but I want to put the pressure on ourselves to win. If we don’t have any motivation, it’s not good. We didn’t play very well in the last match and drew against Kerala Blasters FC. But in the coming match, we want to play better and win.”
Young midfielder Lalengmawia has been impressive for the Highlanders of late, despite the team’s poor run of results. Showering praise on the 19-year-old, the Croat stated, “We have been watching him in the training sessions and felt he has all the qualities to play in the first team. He’s definitely our best player at the moment. He’s just 19 years old. Ninthoi is also doing great as well. They have a huge future not only for the club but also the national team. It’s important how they develop.”
Adding that he has already had discussions about Lalengmawia with India national team head coach Igor Stimac, who was his teammate in the Croatia national team during their playing days, the NorthEast boss said, “I don’t think India has a player like Lalengmawia in his position. I have already spoken to Igor about him. I think Lalengmawia is one of the top three midfielders in India. He, of course, has his own way and he knows what to do.”
Providing an injury update, he revealed, “Nikhil Kadam and Provat Lakra are injured. This season is over for them.”
Pressed for his opinion on how he thought the new foreign players signed by the club in January has been settling in, Jarni noted, “It’s not easy for new foreign players to adapt so soon. I have faced it during my own playing days. You at least need a month to adapt.”
Jarni was accompanied by one of the new signings, Andrew Keogh, to the briefing. Talking about his new challenge and NorthEast’s recent goal drought, the striker said, “India, as a country, has been great. But on the pitch, it hasn’t been that great since we haven’t been winning and I like to win. But in terms of the environment, the coaching staff, the players, it has been amazing. I have felt welcome here. We haven’t scored for a while, and I hope it changes soon. We have been disappointed. It is only a matter of the first goal going in and then hopefully the floodgates will open.”
Read the Match Preview here.