GUWAHATI, Sept 27 - Although NorthEast United FC may not have made it to the play-offs in the earlier two editions of the Indian Super League (ISL), but veteran Indian goalkeeper Subrata Pal is very much optimistic and is ready to leave no stones unturned in the quest for a better show this season.
During an interaction with The Assam Tribune, the seasoned custodian seemed very much determined but also stated that he is well aware of the expectations.
Asked regarding the prospects, Pal said: �We have to play as a team and from my side I will definitely give my best shot. As far as I am concerned, I should be satisfied when I come out of the pitch, I should give my hundred per cent. I can guarantee you one thing that when I enter the pitch, I will give my best, that�s for sure. This year we are trying to do something which NorthEast United didn�t do last year. We need the support from everyone.�
Hailing from Sodepur, West Bengal, Pal has been one of the best goalkeepers that India has ever produced. Termed as the �Spiderman of India�, Pal was conferred with the Arjuna Award last month.
�There is a lot of emotions attached whenever it comes to football in the Northeast. I am happy to be a part of it. I am very happy with the coach, the support staff and everyone. They are doing a tremendous job. Now it�s our turn and we have to perform well. I think we are little bit struggling with the injuries but that�s part and parcel of the game,� Pal added.
Along with TP Rehenesh, who has been retained for the third straight year, the team has a very strong fort at the post. The team comprises of three Brazilian defenders including the likes of Gustavo Lazzaretti, Mailson Alves and Wellington Priori while the combination of two Ivory Coast players in the midfield, including marquee signing Zokora, can prove to be an asset.
As far as the forward line is concerned, Nicolas Velez who was the most popular player from NorthEast United last season is already the highest goal scorer for the team (5 goals in 14 matches). With his pace and skill, the Argentine can be a headache for any defence line. The side also features Lallianzuala Chhangte. The 19-year-old is highly rated and happens to be a product of Liverpool�s youth academy in India.
The NorthEast United FC head coach, Nelo Vingada who was also present during the occasion revealed that he is not concerned with the past but his only focus remains the upcoming season which kicks off on Saturday.
�To be honest, I don�t know much about the last season. Even if I knew I don�t care. I hope we can do much better than the last season and reaching the play-offs is our target and there is no doubt about it. We have to fight to be in the play-offs and we are here to do that,� said Vingada.
Being asked regarding the inaugural match against Kerala Blasters on Saturday, Vingada said: �I don�t know much about Kerala Blasters. Even last year they played against NorthEast United but many players have changed so most of the things will be different compared to last year. Playing in home conditions with the crowd support, we would definitely like to get a win because starting well is very important and reaching the play-offs is our target as of now.�