NorthEast United FC head coach Juan Pedro Benali highlighted his team's readiness for their upcoming Indian Super League (ISL) game against Chennaiyin FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Friday. 

NorthEast United FC began their ISL 2023-24 campaign with a 1-2 defeat to Mumbai City FC at home. The Highlanders will be aiming to open their account for the season after a gritty performance against Mumbai City FC. They will be up against a Chennaiyin FC side, who head to Guwahati after going down to Odisha FC. 

Benali appeared focused on the game against Chennaiyin FC. The Spaniard said that he has no injury issues in his squad and that everybody is fit to play.

"We have 24 players in total. Everybody can play. At this moment, everybody is ready to play. We are not thinking about the exact positions yet, we will decide that between Thursday or Friday morning but every player is ready and available, we have no problem with that," Benali said in the pre-match press conference. 

The Spanish coach has also highlighted the crucial role of the fans and their impact on the team's performance on the field.

"We need the stadiums to be full. This is why we try our best to play well, to win games, to make our supporters come to the match. They push us and they support us. We give everything for them,” Benali said. 

“Supporters are the number one player. When player number one plays well, we play well."

NorthEast United FC have made wholesome changes to their squad during the 2023 summer transfer window. Benali expressed satisfaction with the dedication displayed by his team during training sessions. 

"I am satisfied with everyone from the team, even with the people who cut grass. I am very happy with everybody. We have 24 players, everyone is doing their job. I think everybody is ready."

Discussing his team's philosophy, the 54-year-old stressed that they approach every match with a winning mentality, not settling for draws but aiming solely for victory.

"We do not go (to play) to draw. We win or we do not win. This is our philosophy and this is our mentality and this is the NorthEast mentality. We go (play) outside to win, for the supporters and for everyone."

Turning his attention to the progress made by young talent Parthib Gogoi, Juan emphasised the importance of allowing him the time to showcase his true potential.

"He is a very young guy who is starting. Do not push him too much. We have stairs to go, we cannot jump to the fourth stair without moving through the first, second and third. Let him, do not push him, with time he will be a great player but if we hurry, we will lose him."

Joining Benali at the pre-match press conference, Parthib Gogoi shared insights into his own development, highlighting the valuable lessons he has learned under the head coach's guidance.

"I have been learning a lot of new things. The coach has a lot of experience working in various leagues abroad. He has been putting a lot of faith in me," Gogoi said in the pre-match press conference.

"He has been teaching me new things everyday. He also told me to forget about the last match and focus on the next game that is coming up."