Since Khalid Jamil took over from NorthEast United they have won three games in a row and recently held third-placed FC Goa to a draw to get 22 points in 15 games.
The Highlanders, who now have the same points total as the two teams placed above them on the table, have become a big favorite to finish in the top four after Mumbai City and ATK Mohun Bagan.
Their chances seemed slim after Gerard Nus was sacked after a seven-game winless streak between December 8, 2020 and January 12, 2021. But the tables have turned on the results and since Jamil’s appointment, NorthEast United has impressed against all of the current top three teams – Beat Mumbai City and ATK Mohun Bagan before holding FC Goa.
They are the only team to double down on league leaders Mumbai City this season and also the only team the Islanders have lost to!
With five games remaining in the league stage, the Highlanders have a fantastic opportunity to clinch one of the top four spots. And their last five league games have prepared them for a fantastic finish at the end of the season.
NorthEast United’s last five games are against Hyderabad, Odisha, Chennaiyin, East Bengal and Kerala Blasters. Four of those five opponents languish in the bottom half of the standings.
Odisha is at the bottom of the table and is going through a terrible period of form. Chennaiyin is eighth on the table and unable to complete his chances and score goals. East Bengal have only two wins this season so far. And the Kerala Blasters have been very inconsistent and are ninth on the table.
NorthEast United have the squad to continue to play well and advance to the playoffs. Midseason signing Deshorn Brown has already scored three goals in four games and scoring was one of their main issues under Gerard Nus.
Federico Gallego seems to have hit top form at the right time and looks threatening every time he takes the ball. Luis Machado has what it takes to beat his marker and deliver the ball to a plate for the striker and in Ashutosh Mehta they have one of the best full-backs in ISL bombarding the right flank.
It is now up to NorthEast to take advantage of the end of the business season as they are ready to face teams that would be the teams they would want to face during this period if given the choice.