Chennaiyin FC head coach Thomas Brdaric wants his team to maintain their performance level and intensity for the full ninety minutes as they gear up to face NorthEast United FC in their next Hero Indian Super League (ISL) match, in Guwahati, on Saturday.

The Highlanders replaced head coach Marco Balbul with Vincenzo Annese after having lost the first eight matches in the league, but Brdaric is wary of the team who will have fresh motivation under the new head coach.

The Marina Machans have a bad record in Guwahati, having won in just one of their visits, and Brdaric will be keen to change that and not gift NorthEast United FC their first points of the campaign.

Brdaric and defender Edwin Vanspaul addressed the pre-match press conference ahead of the match against NorthEast United FC.

Here are the excerpts:

You have won three matches so far. How are you planning to go about the rest of the season?

Brdaric: We are in preparation for an important match against NorthEast United FC. It's a team that has struggled in the past but we don't underestimate them and we have to be switched on. If they are not able to use their strengths, then we know about our qualities. We have to show them in the best way possible. We are here for the full points.

NorthEast United FC have lost the first eight matches but they have a new head coach. What is your impression of the team at the moment?

Brdaric: We got the information about the new head coach. He will have a new approach and new ideas, but for us, it doesn't change our preparation. I wish him all the best but on Saturday we want to face his ideas and the opponent with our abilities. It will be a tough match. We have to be very concentrated during this match to implement our ideas and that's our approach.

NorthEast United FC is a team that has a lot of fighters and runners. There are players that are technically good as well. Everyone wants one thing and the team that is more focused, and more compelling on the day will win the match. We want to reduce our mistakes during the match and if we do that, we have a good chance to win.

Are you fairly confident about winning against NorthEast United FC given they have lost all matches so far?

Brdaric: We have analysed all matches of NorthEast United FC. It is a different situation with another head coach. We have to improve in certain aspects. It's a long season and every match is a challenge. It's a new game that will start at 0-0. We have to be focussed and believe in our way. We must show the desire to win. We have a good atmosphere in the dressing room and we need to translate it onto the field and now we have to show that for the full ninety minutes.

What is your assessment of football in India and the Indian players?

Brdaric: There is a lot of potential. We had a coaching forum ahead of the Hero ISL season. We addressed in front of everyone a lot of things to improve. It is interesting to work here and to understand that everyone will make mistakes. But we need to make sure we improve and it applies to everyone. The coaches, the players and the referees. We can't be overwhelmed by critics.

To be at the top, you have to invest. India have qualified for the AFC Asian Cup next year and we will see Indian football on that stage.

How do you plan to make up for the lost matches in the first half of the season?

Brdaric: The most important thing is to learn from what we do. I see a lot of comparisons with the top teams. The most important thing is to keep the level and not only play for 45 minutes or 60 minutes. We need to learn to be physically fit for 90 minutes and be strong to implement and execute the match plan. We have to work hard to play 90 minutes at a high level as we don't want to be just average. We want to play high-intensity football and the mindset must be very strong to implement tactically what we want. This is what we want to work on - to be concentrated for the full 90 minutes.

Here are the excerpts from Edwin’s press conference:

NorthEast United FC have lost all matches but they don't seem demotivated when they are out on the pitch. So how is the team atmosphere before such a match?

Edwin: Every match is important for us and of course, we are playing against NorthEast United FC at their home ground. We know that they have a new head coach and they will go all out and will be motivated. But we have our own team and philosophy and we will be sticking together. We have a plan and our desire to reach the top. We are focussed on the next match and everything is positive. We are going to play for our club and our fans who will be watching us from back home and give them joy.

How has Hero ISL helped you as a footballer?

Edwin: It's completely different. I first played in hero ISL in 2019. That time we had five foreigners but you can see the difference now with just four foreign players playing. The Indians have started scoring. The league is improving and of course, all the coaches have a different plan and I am learning from all the head coaches. I think the upcoming players keep on learning in this league and it is good for Indian football.