NorthEast United FC assistant coach Naushad Moosa urged his players to not get carried away after their resounding win over Chennaiyin FC in their last Indian Super League (ISL) match as they prepare to face Punjab FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in New Delhi. 

The Highlanders have won one and lost one of their two fixtures in the ISL so far and would like to build on a good start to the season in terms of their performances. 

Moosa suggested that their performances in the past two games don’t hold any bearing on the result of the match on Friday and they will need to be mindful of the dangers posed by their hosts. 

“Every game is different. We won the last game but we don't know what will happen in the next game. We have to be cautious, we have to be grounded. That's very important,” Moosa said during the pre-match press conference. 

“We lost the first match but there was a lot to take out from it. We worked on our weakness, where we were suffering and we got a positive result in the second match. So, we have to look at the mistakes again from the last game, and work on them,” he added. 

Punjab FC have lost both their games so far but gave a good account of themselves in both games, pushing FC Goa all the way till the final minute. The former Bengaluru FC coach believes the Shers’ results in their first two matches will make NorthEast United FC’s task even harder on Friday. 

“It's very important that we respect our opponent. This is the first season for them. They are a new team with new players but they are a very balanced team. They didn't win both their first games but they played a very attacking game. They are a very strong side and it won't be an easy match,” he said. 

“We have to see Punjab FC differently. They have lost their first two games, so it's certain that they will come strong in this game. They will want to show their hunger to win a game,” he added. 

NorthEast United FC defender Asheer Akhtar accompanied Moosa in the pre-match press conference and has had a flying start to the season providing a goal contribution in each game so far. 

However, the 28-year-old wants to prioritise his defending over grabbing the glory at the other end. 

“A goal is a bonus for a defender. As a defender, we want to improve our defensive skills,” Akhtar said at the pre-match press conference. 

“We don't get many chances to score. So, I will aim to keep a good defensive shape but of course, if I get the chance to score for the team, it's a positive thing. The goal and the assist will give me more confidence.” he added. 

Akhtar believes the Highlanders still have a long way to go in developing a strong team ethic and wants his teammates to pull together in one direction. 

“We want to do more as a team and not as individuals. Right now we are on the right path. It's just the beginning and we will try to be together,” he concluded.