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Football Reporting


Sergio Lobera: Khalid Jamil’s NorthEast United play attacking football

The Spanish coach acknowledged that Khalid Jamil’s side were the better team on the night and deserved full points…

NorthEast United did the double over Mumbai City FC as they defeated them 2-1 and thus, inflict only the second defeat this season on the Islanders.

Sergio Lobera’s team were on a 12-match unbeaten run since the opening day defeat to NorthEast but they struggled to get going right from the start. Deshorn Brown scored twice inside the opening 10 minutes and Mumbai’s defence looked in sixes and sevens each time the opposition made an attacking move.

“It was difficult for us. It’s important for us to start the games well. When we score the first goal, it is very difficult for the opponent team to play in the same way. We lost our concentration and conceded two goals in three minutes. Our action was not good. There was a lot of space between the lines. But we need to think about this and learn from this

“Yes, I feel they played really well. They deserved to win. I, as a coach, will try to improve my team so that this does not happen again,” said Lobera, who took the complete responsibility for the defeat.

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Lobera observed that NorthEast United, under the tutelage of Khalid Jamil, are a better outfit and aren’t just content to sit back and absorb pressure. He also mentioned that the 2-1 defeat on Saturday saw a better performance from NorthEast than the 2-0 win over Mumbai earlier in the campaign.

“I think these were two very different games. They are doing a good job with a new coach by playing attacking football with good attacking players. This game was very different from the first leg. We lost three points but they played very defensively and we played with one player less. They scored one goal from a penalty. I think today they deserve the win because they played better than us,” he remarked.

Lobera pointed out that his team needs to be more compact and not allow the opposition to have a free run at their defence. He also spoke of how the team struggle to manufacture anything concrete in the final third despite having a lot of possession.

“We didn’t arrive well. We had the possession. We didn’t capture the possession. There was too much space between the lines and it is too difficult to defend well and attack well in these circumstances. We need to be a more compact team. I think after conceding two goals, our team’s action was not good and we need to learn from this.

“During the last 20 minutes, we changed our style and played with two strikers. We played 4-1-3-2 to try to arrive and keep the centre-backs in their position. We created more chances but we played impulsive football, which was not loyal to our style of play. When we are not playing our style of play, we are not a strong team. But we created chances and we had our opportunities to draw the game,” said Lobera.

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