NorthEast United FC head coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese is hoping to give a good result for their supporters on Friday as they host Bengaluru FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23.

A lot has changed in the NorthEast United FC camp since their reverse fixture against the Blues in October. Annese took over from Marco Balbul in December. The Italian has had a topsy-turvy time since his arrival, losing three opur of the four matches but helping the Highlanders get their first win on the season after 10 consecutive losses.

Annese has expressed that he is not happy with his own performance so far but happy with the way the players are responding to his style of play.

"Well, I'm not happy with myself because in the four games that I'm here, the first one we cannot adjudicate because I had only less than 24 hours but it's part of my records here in NorthEast United FC. I lost three and won one, so for sure I am not happy with my performance," Annese said in the pre-match press conference.

"But for me, it's really important that the guys improve. During the training, I saw that the guys in the first two weeks missed a lot of balls. But right now, we are one step higher than before I can see. I am happy only because of the way that we started to train now. I hope that we (will) give a good result for our supporters on Friday," he added.

The Friday clash is between the teams in the bottom half of the table. Like the Highlanders, Bengaluru FC are also not having the best of the seasons, winning only three out of 12 matches and scoring just eight goals, the least in the league but the NEUFC head coach was vary of the quality the Blues possess and spoke about the tactical difficulty in facing them.

"Bengaluru FC is a quality team. They have more points than us till now. They play a particular set up in the tactical situation. It’s one of the teams that play with three center backs, so this creates a bit of a problem for teams as all the time we used to press, to organize our defensive line, our approach in attacking phase with only four backs. So, the situation (will create) some change in setup in a tactical vision of the game. We are aware of their qualities especially with (Roy) Krishna and with (Sunil) Chhetri, they have a quality. But we play at home, so we will do our best and create a good performance on Friday," he commented.

In the ongoing January transfer window, NorthEast United FC signed the two defenders Alex Saji and Hira Mondal. Alex Saji previously played under the Italian in Gokulam Kerala and Hira Mondal is signed from Bengaluru FC. Annese emphasised the importance of the newly signed players for the morale of the team besides their individual qualities.

"These signings (Alex Saji and Hira Mondal) are really good for us. I hope they adapt well to the style of the game. Alex (Saji) was one of my players in Gokulam Kerala, so I am so happy to (see him back) this year. Hira Mondal is another player with a quality who can go up and down aggressively. We were missing this kind of player in the defensive phase. And I hope our whole full team gets improved by these two signings. These players are not only signed for their individual skills, but also for positive minds in the team, taking a new power. These new players can give us more positives for the rest of the session," he added.

Gaurav Bora has started all the four matches under Annese in the NorthEast United FC. The 24-year-old defender has made 22 interceptions and 34 clearances so far this season. He talked about the atmosphere in the team and the positive mindset of players despite the poor results.

"I think it's been alright till now. Everyone has been gelling together. Everyone is trying to stay together. Everyone has been fantastic. All the boys, also the new boys that came in and they settled in really well. Obviously the result affects us, but we are trying to be positive as much as possible," Bora said in the pre-match press conference.

In the reverse fixture, the Highlanders lost 0-1 to Bengaluru FC. It was a bitter result as Jon Gaztanaga's equaliser in the added minute was disallowed for an offside call but Bora is not seeking revenge and wants to approach the game as same as any other ones.

"It's not only about wanting revenge, it's like every match we go for, it's like we go for the three points. So yeah, obviously we could have got those three points at that time, but it's past now. So we are looking forward to getting those (points) on Friday," he concluded.