NorthEast United coach Nelo Vingada refused to blame his players for the goal that allowed Mumbai City FC to win 1-0 at the Andheri Sports Complex in Friday's Indian Super League (ISL) match.
"Man makes mistakes. It was an easy situation. We had a first chance to control and solve the situation, a second chance and a third chance when it came to Reagan who fell down and they got a penalty. I have seen this many times and in bigger teams. Fantastic players make mistakes. These mistakes don’t happen usually in my team.
"We made one, two and three consecutive mistakes to clear the ball and then the penalty the goalkeeper almost caught the ball. If football wasn’t like this, it wouldn’t be the number one sport in the world," Vingada said after the away loss to Mumbai.
This was NorthEast United’s third game in six days but the Portuguese manager was gracious in defeat despite having every right to complain about a taxing schedule of games.
"Today was a very hard and intense game. It was our third game and in six days. I was expecting much more difficulty but I must congratulate Mumbai. Sometimes a team wins and there is not a lot of positives and sometimes when a team lose but we can bring a lot of positives,” believed an optimistic Vingada.
He then went on to talk about team building.“We are building a good team and with good organisation. We made some mistakes which is uncharacteristic of my team. However, this is football, mistakes happen because we play with man and not robots. I take with me the performance and not the result," Vingada asserted.
NorthEast United FC started with their marquee player Didier Zokora but the Ivorian was played as a defender instead of his usual position as a midfielder. When asked about this change in formation, Vingada revealed, "Zokora should play in midfield but the situation is that our one player is with Bengaluru FC. Mailson is injured and so Zokora played there. He has played many times in defense. He has experience and can read the game well. He had a good game."
NorthEast United 'sfitness levels should have taken a nosedive after their gruelling fixture list but Vingada was pleased with how his team maintained their tempo throughout the game and decided to focus on the positives.
"In our pre-season in Dubai, it was about finding the best combination of Indian and foreigners players. How to combine, sometimes is a problem. Combination is better than the level of individualities. The game we lost, we made a good game. The fitness was good. I would like to take great motivation. We like to score and if we score first, the game will be easier for us," said the man, playfully dubbed as the ‘Professor’.
He summed up the umpteen number of missed chances that plagued the NorthEast United side by saying, "Not on all days will we be unlucky and miss chances. Playing in this way, I feel we are going in the right direction. Usually when a team creates so many chances as we did, we must score. In the Spanish League, Barcelona lost one of the games with Neymar, Suarez and Messi playing. These things happen."
NorthEast United will next play FC Pune City on 12 October at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune.