Robert Jarni: We have to adapt to the situation and change our style

Winless in their last four Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 outings, including back-to-back losses in their last two, NorthEast United FC will be eager to get back to winning ways when they face Kerala Blasters FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Saturday. It will be both teams' last match of the 2019 calendar year.

Leading up to the fixture, NorthEast head coach Robert Jarni addressed the media in the pre-match press conference and said, “Kerala are a very good team, especially at home. Eelco Schattorie is a very good coach and he was at NorthEast last season. For us, it’s a very important game. But for me every game is important. I want to delete the memories of the last few games and forget about them. We have been training hard, the players are happy and I expect always to win the game.”

NorthEast’s star striker Asamoah Gyan suffered an injury in the match against ATK FC and subsequently missed the Highlanders’ last game against Bengaluru FC. Providing an update on the Ghanaian, the Croat revealed, “Gyan is well. He is back with us and training very hard.”

When suggested that his team might be overly dependent on Gyan in the striking department, Jarni indicated that the Highlanders are looking at options to address the issue. “Maybe we will get a new striker in the future. Maybe in a few more days,” he said.

Asked if he is considering tactical changes to arrest the recent slump, the 51-year-old noted, “In this situation, we must adapt to the players we have and adapt our tactics according to them. We have to change our system of play. We were playing 4-2-3-1 and now we are playing 4-3-3. I think the 4-3-3 system suits the players much better but when we are on the pitch, we can adapt according to the circumstances.”

“It’s all good when we are playing well and getting the result but when we are not doing well, we have to adapt to the situation. We know what to do,” he added.

Pressed for his views on the competition in the league and the style of play of the various teams involved, Jarni opined, “In this league, everybody can beat everyone. At this point, I think ATK are very good. There are three teams who have a very good style of play but aren’t quite that high up the table. In the end, no one remembers the style of play. Points are what matters the most.”

The gaffer was joined by 19-year-old midfielder Lalengmawia, who played his first Hero ISL match last week against Bengaluru. Laying out his immediate and long-term ambitions, the youngster said, “I made my debut against Bengaluru – last season’s champions. I think the next game will be easier. I would like to be the best player in India and maybe play abroad someday.”

Read the Match Preview here.

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