We are becoming difficult to play against: NorthEast United FC head coach Juan Pedro Benali
NorthEast United FC head coach Juan Pedro Benali is confident that his team can continue their positive start to the season when they face Jamshedpur FC on Thursday.
NorthEast United FC head coach Juan Pedro Benali is confident that his team can continue their positive start to the season when they face Jamshedpur FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Thursday.
NorthEast United FC has shown promise and determination in the early stages of the season. Despite suffering an initial defeat against Mumbai City FC, they have remained unbeaten in their last three games, securing two draws on the road and one victory at home. Benali expressed his satisfaction with his team's performance in the ISL and the growing competition within the squad.
“I think it's a good start for what we were looking for. As I say, all the time we were building the team. And every time you're taking points, it's very important. And the team slowly trying to convince (me to give them chances) and (we're) becoming difficult to play against. And that's very important to give more push to the players, to work more and slowly give the opportunity to the young ones,” Benali stated in the pre-match press conference.
Jamshedpur FC have conceded just one goal so far, keeping three clean sheets in the last four matches. They have looked defensively very organised and compact in all their games so far.
Commenting on his opponent’s performance, Benali stated,“JFC is a very organised team. You know, defensively, they were very, very good. They only took one goal in the last four games. Offensively, they have very good players, good strikers. They got a lot of chances in all the games. They didn't score too many goals, but I think they were unlucky a little bit. They were very dangerous on the front. They have good players, foreign and local players. We know (that), we have seen them playing many times, and they know how to play, how is their system. And they have a very good coach. I think it is a strong and tough team who will give us a lot of headaches.”
Accompanying Benali in the pre-match press conference was Spanish forward Nestor Albiach, who scored his first ISL goal in the previous match against Kerala Blasters FC. He shared his experience of playing in India for the first time, expressing his happiness about joining the league.
“At the moment, I'm very happy to join here in India. I know many players from Spain that I heard that the league is quite organised and very good. But at the moment, I'm very happy to give the forward pass,” he shared.
Albiach has started every game for NorthEast United FC, contributing a goal and an assist. He emphasised the hard work the team has been putting in off the field.
“At the beginning, when I came here for the first time, I saw the team, and I spoke with coaches, and I saw that we have to improve a lot. But I think week by week, it's watching the field that we are improving. So, it's true that we have to improve a little bit more, and we work hard from Monday to Friday.. We play on Thursday. But from Monday to Friday, we work hard, and everyone deserves to play. But the truth is that the team is now getting good results, and now we will see,” Nestor explained.
Benali concluded the conference by speaking about his team’s spirit, which he believed was the ultimate factor in getting three points.