ISL: NorthEast looks to avoid hiccups against Delhi

NorthEast United currently occupy the last play-off spot, having tallied 23 points from 14 games.

NorthEast United has won just two of its seven matches.   -  ISL/SPORTZPICS

NorthEast United FC will look to avoid any hiccups and strengthen its position in the top four when it hosts an unpredictable Delhi Dynamos in a Hero Indian Super League fixture here on Thursday.

The Highlanders currently occupy the last play-off spot, having tallied 23 points from 14 games.

With just four more games left to be played and Jamshedpur FC and ATK breathing down its neck, NorthEast needs to make the most of its home games.

Eelco Schattorie’s side has won just two of the seven matches it has played at home. Dropping points at this juncture could potentially endanger its bid to reach the ISL play-offs for the first time.

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“It is difficult for them (Delhi) to qualify. They can play without any pressure. It is always a completely different mindset if you have to deliver something.

“We are in a position where we need to win and they are in a position where they will try to get a result. If you can score quickly against such a team, you can break them down because of less motivation,” Schattorie said.

Schattorie will be aware that Delhi held FC Goa to a goalless draw in its last clash and will be out to play spoilsport, again.

The Dutchman will also be concerned with his own team’s results, picking up only one win in its last five matches.

NorthEast had preferred a 4-2-3-1 formation with star striker Bartholomew Ogbeche leading the lines initially.

Dynamos has won two of its last three matches.

 

But Schattorie has experimented with a 4-4-2 as well. However, he is expected to revert to the shape that brought the Highlanders results.

Resurgent Dynamos

Delhi Dynamos, on the other hand, finally seem to have some wind in its sails. The side has picked up seven points from a possible nine in its last three matches.

However, a disastrous initial half of the season has all but put paid to its play-off hopes. The Dynamos, however, will be confident of showing everyone that it can give any team a run for its reputation.

“If we win our remaining matches, the team will be more motivated. We know maybe we won’t qualify for the play-offs but if we win the next games, we will get confidence.

“In our home match, we lost to NorthEast United 2-0. Now if we win tomorrow in the away game the team will get great confidence,” said assistant manager Mridul Banerjee.

Delhi do have a couple of fitness concerns though. Midfielder Bikramjit Singh is injured while Adria Carmona is not expected to feature in the starting XI despite travelling with the squad.