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ISL 2020: NorthEast United Upbeat Despite Missing Key Players

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Goa: NorthEast United FC head coach Gerard Nus is in a fix ahead of their campaign opener against Mumbai City FC on Saturday as he will be missing the services of some of the key players who are in isolation after testing COVID-19 positive.

But the young tactician is upbeat that his team can produce the goods against Sergio Lobera’s Mumbai City.

“I think we have to take every challenge one at a time. Obviously, not having players for the first game is not something any coach would have (wanted). Even if we follow all the guidelines we can get infected, so we can only be focused on the things that we can control. So we take it as it is and keeping our focus in training,” he stated.

The NorthEast coach is not willing to throw in the towel before fighting it out on the pitch against a Mumbai side that have signed some tried and tested players in Ahmed Jahouh, Hugo Boumous, Mandar Rao Dessai and Mourtada Fall.

“We know about the strengths they (Mumbai) have assembled. We need to put more attention on ourselves and will take it one game at a time,” said.

The Highlanders have only made it to the playoffs only once in the past six editions of the ISL and Nus, at 35, comes in as the youngest manager in this season.

Meanwhile, Mumbai City will be looking for signs that they are ready to mount a sustained challenge for their first piece of silverware.

“This will be a difficult game. This will be the most competitive season as there are many good teams. I am working hard with my players. At the end of the season, our fans should be happy with our performances,” said Lobera, who now wears the sky blue colours of Mumbai City.

“We play attacking football. In this scenario, it’s not easy working in such a short span. It’s a challenge and we need to adapt to different circumstances,” he added.

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