Struggling Indian Super League (ISL) franchise NorthEast United FC has sacked their Portuguese coach Joao de Deus Pires, a day after fellow ISL club Kerala Blasters parted ways with Rene Meulensteen.

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“He and his assistant coach (Joao Pinho) have been shown the door. They are expected to come to Mumbai on Wednesday and do the final settlement with (owner) John Abraham,” an ISL official was quoted as saying by news agency IANS.

Goalkeeping coach Joseph Siddy is slated to take charge, the news agency reported.

The club had appointed Joao de Deus Pires in July last year in the hopes of overturning their fortunes this time around after failing to qualify for the knockout stages in the last three years since the tournament’s inception.

This season, NorthEast United has scored just twice in seven games and languish in ninth place.

With only a win in their bag, the northeast outfit once again look set to miss out on the top four unless they improve their form drastically.

In the post-match press conference after their last home game in Guwahati, the Portuguese coach rued his team’s wastefulness in front of goal. Concurring with the journalist who pointed out that NorthEast United players were creating several chances but failing to convert those into goals, de Deus said, “I am frustrated and what you said is correct. We created so many chances. We should win games because we have more chances than the opponents. My boys came here to get a different result. So let’s work hard, let’s be patient and let’s try to let this moment pass. It is not fair but this is football.”

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The 41-year-old former left-back, whose professional career spanned nearly two decades, however, defended his tactics. “We can change the strategy. The problem is (not just) the strategy and the players who are playing or the coach who is coaching. We must be better with the (finer) details (of execution) because that is what is making us lose the game. You don’t need to be an expert to understand that. You don’t have six or seven great opportunities to score (if the strategy happens to be incorrect). We are disappointed with the results but if you stay depressed with the situation, it is not going to solve anything.”

Earlier, reports said that the Guwahati-based side was in talks with last season’s coach Nelo Vingada for taking over the charges. The Highlanders however haven’t disclosed anything officially as yet.

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