The challenge for Chennaiyin FC will be securing the shape and composure of the team and continue the winning form in the ISL, feels their coach Marco Materazzi. “I constantly ask them (players) to be focussed and ensure compactness in the side. Every player needs to be responsible about his role and that would help the team keep the winning momentum intact,” the former Italian World Cupper said ahead of his team’s outing against the local favourite NorthEast United FC.

With Jeje LalpekHlua rejoining the side after completing his national duty, Materazzi said he will have to compete with Jayesh Rane to regain the striker’s slot in the team. “No one’s place is guaranteed and every player will have fight for a place in the side,” said Materazzi, adding that team is not depended on any individual and it is not Stiven Mendoza alone who is pulling the team ahead. “Players like Balwant (Singh), Elano (Blumer), Jeje (Lalpekhlua) and even Jayesh have all contributed last year and that [is] more important for the team,” Materazzi said.

The NorthEast United FC coach Cesar Farias said his team has not got the expected results but it is in good shape and the dressing room atmosphere is fine. “When you face too many reverses it is hard to see the positives. We are in the process of correcting the team structure and hopefully with inclusion of some new players for the ones injured we can turn things around,” Farias said, adding that the team is indebted to its supporters for standing by in at the time of crisis. He said the team’s marquee player Simao Sabrosa has returned to the side from injury and is looking in good condition, but the team physio will take a final call on the player’s availability.

“We have to restore calmness and light up the fire of confidence for the team to get back its winning philosophy. We are creating good chances and it is time we converted them for good results,” Farias said about his side, which is at the bottom of the standings having lost all their matches.