NorthEast, Jamshedpur hope to get back into top 4
Vasco (Goa): NorthEast United face Jamshedpur FC in their first match since the departure of coach Gerard Nus in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Sunday at the Tilak Maidan Stadium. A recent slump in form has resulted in both clubs falling out of the top four.
There's not much separating the two sides at the moment with seventh-placed Jamshedpur being a point above NorthEast after 13 points from 11 games. Jamshedpur will fancy their chances against their opponents who are struggling for consistency.
NorthEast are winless in their last seven games. To make matters worse, they parted ways with coach Gerard Nus who was replaced by Khalid Jamil on an interim basis.
Jamshedpur also boast a unique record against their opponents, going unbeaten in seven games while winning twice. But that doesn't give any reason for Coyle to take his opponents lightly.
"Well, I don't know if they are in good form or not. I think they played very well in the last game," Coyle said. "NorthEast are dangerous opponents and every opponent you face possesses different challenges. They might not be fluent in passing the ball but they have so many other qualities and that's what we need to identify. We have to be respectful but also look to play our game and impose ourselves and get our good players on the ball."
While midfielder Alexandre Lima will be suspended for the game, Coyle is hopeful captain Stephen Hartley can take part after going off injured in their defeat against FC Goa.
Similar to Jamshedpur, NorthEast will also be desperate to bounce back, given their recent run of results. But despite their poor form, Alison Kharsyntiew is confident Nus's departure won't hamper the team and hoped they can make it to the playoffs.
"We have to be consistent in our performances and if we are consistent, I'm sure we will reach the top four," he said. "We have to stay together as a team, work hard in training and the game and give our best."