We will sign a minimum of 3-4 players in January: NorthEast United FC’s Marco Balbul

NorthEast United FC head Marco Balbul remains confident of a better future for the club despite recording their worst start to a Hero Indian Super League (ISL) season. 

The Highlanders have lost their first six match of Hero ISL 2022-23 season and will want to avoid becoming the first team to lose seven straight matches in the league’s history when they take on Mumbai City FC in Guwahati on Friday. 

It will be a mountain to climb for the home side against a team that has scored ten goals in their last two matches and are the league’s only unbeaten team this season. 

Balbul hinted at strengthening the squad in the January transfer window and suggested that the club is united in improving its position on the table. 

Balbul and defender Gurjinder Kumar spoke to the media ahead of the Mumbai City FC match. 

Here are the excerpts: 

Mumbai City FC are the only unbeaten team in the Hero ISL. What do you think about your opponents?

Balbul: I think they are one of the best teams in the Hero ISL. They are in the best shape now. In the last two matches, they scored 10 goals. To stop them we need to be very organised in defence, be very compact and be very aggressive. If we succeed to stop them, then it will be a positive result for us. 

You are the only team yet to win a match and they are the only team yet to lose a match. Do you think the contest is a big mismatch on paper?

Balbul: I think we haven't performed (well) so far. But the players are working very hard in training and are showing a good approach towards changing the situation. We have put a lot of effort to change the direction. The club is motivated to change its direction. We are also looking at January to sign a minimum of 3-4 players. Wilmar has joined us 3-4 days back which will also help us. We are united as a club to go into a better situation and we should start on Friday. 

There have been a lot of talks about the backroom staff being changed. Any word on that? 

Balbul: It is a club decsion. The team didn't perform well so the club take a decision. We will have a new physical coach who will arrive on Sunday or Monday, We are looking for a better future and the entire club has put a lot of effort to make it happen. 

You have been involved in attacking games so far. You have caused opponents problems going forward. Do you see your approach changing? 

Balbul: No, I think we have our way of playing. We need to be consistent. Of course, we need to adapt to the opponent but still if you want to win games, you have to attack. But if you need points, then you also need to defend. Mumbai City FC will control the game most of the time. But as we have seen in the World Cup, teams that control almost 70% of the games don't always win. So we need to be very concentrated on Friday, we have to be very aggressive on the ball and I'm sure if the boys do what we tell them till now, the result will be positive. 

You have signed a new striker Wilmar Jordan. Any thoughts on him? 

Balbul: He is not in a good shape but he will be in the squad against Mumbai City FC. He is a very good player, a target man. He can run forward, he can score goals, and he can help us a lot. But we need to be patient as he hasn't played for two months. I think he will help us in the future. 

Will you make any changes to the team? 

Balbul: Of course, I will make changes but I can't tell you what. Whenever you lose, you have to make changes and try different things, so we will make changes to make the team better. 

Can the fans expect better performances?

Balbul: We always believe we can do better and if not we won't be sitting here or training. The fans have suffered so far and we want to give them better results, and better fighting performances. If so, the points will stay with NorthEast United FC. 

Here are the excerpts from Gurjinder Kumar’s press conference: 

It's been a poor start to the season. As players how are you dealing with it? 

Gurjinder: We don't want to face this situation as players. We want to win the matches but now as a team, and as a coaching staff, we all need to face this situation and we all need to change this situation. We are working hard in the last ten days and together we have to change this situation. 

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