Guwahati, January 11: High on confidence after winning their first match under former Chelsea manager Avram Grant, NorthEast United FC will need to be at their best to stop a desperate ATK in a ninth round Indian Super League clash here on Friday (January 12).
Grant will look for the attitude which was seen against FC Goa, when his side notched their first win after four defeats on the trot. They can leapfrog ATK with a win and that will be the most motivating factor for them.
"I think we need to improve a lot. I like to implement attacking football but for us to reach the desired level is difficult. So the immediate focus is to remain organised and be together. Hopefully that gets us some results," said NorthEast assistant coach Eelco Schattorie.
"Two areas which need work on is to bring the team together. Last week everyone worked hard and had the intention to help each other so that organisation is very important.
Secondly, we need to improve in the area of scoring goals but that is the most difficult as well. We can't train today to score and score tomorrow. That is not how it works. That only works when you have (Lionel) Messi or (Cristiano) Ronaldo," he added.
ATK have won just twice in eight games and can cut the gap to the playoff spots to just two points with a victory.
Their assistant coach Bastob Roy likened the situation to that of Real Madrid in the La Liga - saying that this was how football was and that they would now have to create their own luck rather than rely on the rub of the green.
"Have you seen the situation of Real Madrid? This is football, it's part of the game and we are trying to come out of this situation. We still think we can make the playoffs.
The table is very unpredictable and with two wins in a row, we may be able to achieve it," Bastob said during an interaction. "Luck is not with us. Chance factor has been against us.
"We are not looking behind but looking forward. The only thing we can do is work hard," the former player, who mainly played for Mohammedan Sporting, added.
NorthEast United may not have those two players at their disposal, but they showed what a determined performance can achieve against one of the best teams in the league. More of the same will certainly cause ATK problems.