ISL: NorthEast coach terms clash against FC Goa as 'another fixture'
Fatorda (Goa): NorthEast United FC head coach Ricki Herbert Sunday kept his cards close to his chest as he downplayed the significance of his team's clash against FC Goa in an Indian Super League (ISL) match here Monday.
NorthEast United, who are currently sixth on the table, can displace the hosts from the third spot if they win Monday.
Both sides come into the fixture after convincing wins in their last outings but Goa have been in top form in the second half of the tournament, having won thrice in the last five games.
Herbert said he was aware of this fact but countered that his team will be looking to win as well.
"I don't think anybody is really hard to beat in this league. All the teams are probably in the same mix. Every team has had their ups and downs in the competition and with three games to go, everyone is still in contention for a spot in the knockout stages. We're just looking at the Goa game as another fixture. It's a game we want to win," he said at the pre-match press conference here Sunday.
Looking back at the last game, when the northeasterners humbled league leaders Chennaiyin FC 3-0 in their own backyard, the New Zealander was all praises for his players.
"I thought we were terrific in the last game. We played probably the best team in the league and it was a very convincing result for us. We're very pleased to be here in Goa and we look forward to another three points," he said.
A loss in the previous match would have left the Highlanders, who were bottom of the league table, in a precarious position in terms of qualifying for the knockout stages.
Herbert, however, chose to look at things positively.
"I don't think we would have been out of the competition had we not won that game. It would certainly make things very, very difficult for us, but as it turns out, we put our best foot forward and took three points from a tough game," he said.
Not divulging too much team information, the coach revealed that every player has travelled and will be training on the eve of the match.