NorthEast United are happily perched at the top of the Indian Super League (ISL) table as Chennaiyin FC take on the Highlanders at Guwahati on Wednesday.
The visiting head coach Marco Materazzi looked at ease on the eve of the encounter, a match up Chennaiyin has never got the better off, losing three out of their previous four meetings.
”I always have maximum respect for the team which is on the top of the table. The coach (Nelo Vingada) has done a good job at recruiting those players and organizing them so well. They deserve all the ten points they have now. It is going to be tough and we are going to put our all and if we play good then we can beat them," stated the Italian praising the John Abraham owned team.
The Machans are placed sixth on the table after drawing, losing and winning each of their first three games respectively. Materazzi in retrospect commented, “The start is the same as last year more or less. What I regret is the two points we should have got at Kolkata.”
”If you look at how the game was developing, we should have got all three points. Regarding Delhi, I was just angry about the game as we did not play the way we know how to," he added.
Chennaiyin who play their fourth game on Thursday come up against NorthEast, having played two more in that same period. When asked if getting into a rhythm evaded them in lieu of having long gaps between matches, the former Internazionale man did not complain.
Materazzi explained why the fixtures were unevenly skewed for the sides, with Chennaiyin having played just three games so far, while NorthEast are into their sixth.
“This is the schedule so it is nobody's fault. We have to respect it also because they had to put it this way in preparation for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup. All coaches know what they are up for before coming here. We had lots of gap between games before this one but now we will get into a packed calendar after this game. We cannot blame the schedule so we are all good here.”
Jeje Lalpekhlua who has been in incredible form for both club and country in the past twelve months was surprisingly dropped from the starting eleven in the last game and the 2006 World Cup winner defended his team selection.
”Jeje has a key role in our team. I strongly believe in him and he has done good for the national side. I put in my players irrespective of age or experience or nationality. Last game I put in Jerry Lalrinzuala who is only a teenager and we finished the game with seven Indians. I put my best eleven into the game," Materazzi concluded by putting an end to the questions put on his selections.