We didn’t take the match lightly at all: Jamil after beating SC East Bengal
NorthEast United FC picked up a 2-1 win against SC East Bengal at the Fatorda Stadium on Tuesday to stay on course for a top-four finish in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21. Suhair Vadakkepeedika opened the scoring for NorthEast in the second half before the Red and Gold Brigade’s Sarthak Golui put the ball into his own net. SC East Bengal were then reduced to 10 men following Raju Gaikwad’s send-off and Golui pulled one back for the Kolkata club late in the game.
Speaking at the post-match press conference, NorthEast’s interim head coach Khalid Jamil admitted that his side knew that a tough challenge awaited them against SC East Bengal. “It was not easy. It was a very difficult game because in our current situation, the opposition will always play hard against us. So, we didn’t take this match lightly at all,” he said.
Jamil also batted away suggestions that he was disappointed with his side’s failure to keep a clean sheet. “I am not disappointed at all. My players are working very hard. Subhasish [Roy], the foreign players like Benjamin [Lambot], [Dylan] Fox, Khassa [Camara], [Deshorn] Brown and even [Luis] Machado are working very hard. Even Provat [Lakra] and everybody is working hard, we are very happy to get the three points and that’s our main motto,” the 43-year-old said.
SC East Bengal scored a late consolation goal through Golui to set up a grandstand finish. However, Jamil insisted that he had faith in his players’ reaction as he also urged them to get a positive result from their last match of the league stage. “We weren’t nervous, but it invited a bit of pressure. But I believed in my boys and knew that they would react in a positive way… we have one last hurdle and that’s the most important game [against Kerala Blasters FC on Friday]. We must work hard and get a positive result,” he said.
Watch Khalid Jamil's Post-Match Press conference here:
Meanwhile, SC East Bengal’s assistant coach Tony Grant rued his team’s lack of concentration in the build-up to the first goal. “I thought first half we sort of controlled the game, I didn’t see them really causing us many problems… the goal came from a long ball to our forward and no one backed him up. Then there was a lack in concentration and cohesion. …We had a 20-minute spell when the lads all of a sudden just fell apart before they got back into the game. But the first goal was not a good goal to give away,” he said.
The Englishman also revealed what he expects from his players and team management in the future. “Hopefully some of our injured players get fit and we can field our strongest team. And hopefully we can finish the season with a smile on our face [they play Odisha FC on Saturday]… we can catch the top four because when you analyze the games we’ve played this year with the teams in the top four, there’s not a great deal between us. All we have to do is get the recruitment right, the training programme is fine. These are the things that need to be done and spoken about for the next season,” Grant said.
Watch Tony Grant's Post-Match Press conference here: