NorthEast United FC had a perfect start in the ongoing Hero Indian Super League as they defeated Mumbai City FC by 1-0 in their opening match of the season. The head coach of NorthEast United Gerard Nus was pleased with the performances of his players, which helped his team bag three points and get off to a fine start.
NorthEast United had a season to forget in ISL 2019-20 as they could manage only two wins in 18 matches. Nus is coaching the Highlanders for the first time and the club couldn’t have asked for a better start.
“I think we played a competitive game. We knew what to expect from a brilliant side like Mumbai City and we followed our plan and did a fantastic job. I’m so pleased with all my players. Even the guys that didn’t get much time in the game or the ones who didn’t get a single minute but they were pushing the team from the bench. So, I’m pleased with the team, this is the start of what I believe is a serious season for NorthEast United and obviously I’m happy but need to keep improving at the same time,” Nus said in the post-match media interaction.
On the other hand, Mumbai City were reduced to 10-man after Ahmed Jahouh was given a red card for a lunging tackle from behind on Khassa Camara, just two minutes before the first half.
In the 49th minute, Rowllin Borges handed a ball, which resulted in a penalty for the Highlanders. Kwesi Appiah made no mistake from the spot to help NorthEast United take the lead.
Nus added, “Obviously, penalties and sending-offs are moments in any football game. They make things go one way or another but at the end, they are just moments. If you relax then a team like Mumbai City will punish you so we had the right mentality, were switched on all the time and were very strong. So, I’m very happy about it.”
Nus added that it was crucial to start the season on a winning note and it gives them confidence as well as a bit of momentum for the whole tournament. Nus reiterated that they will try to put up a fight in all their matches.
“When you start a new season, it’s always nice to start with three points. But even if the result wasn’t in our favour, you can see that there is a clear pattern of play and I’ve said that since day one. We are going to be a team that fights, we will never give up and that’s what we saw today and also in the friendly matches we had before the season started,” he said.