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Photo: ESL

By Taras Bortnik

Special to VPEsports

Following NRG’s exit from the IEM Katowice Legends stage, we caught up with Chet “ImAPet” Singh, the teams’ coach. NRG would go from undefeated in the Minor and Challengers stage to 0-3 on their way out of the Major.

ImAPet speaks on the teams mentality, map vetoes, opponents, and recovery. You can read the full interview below:

VPEsports: How is the team handling these tough times?

ImAPet: It’s 0:3, I mean… it just happens, you know. We fell under the pressure. All the scores in our matches were pretty close and in every game there were moments when we lost 2v5, 1v3… If we can’t win those rounds against one or two guys, then we don’t really deserve to win a map. If we don’t fix it, then our future isn’t looking that bright, but I know that we can do it.

VPEsports: Do you agree with the thought that compLexity, among all the other teams in your bracket, is the most uncomfortable team for you?

ImAPet: It doesn’t feel uncomfortable, but we definitely know each other the most among all the teams. We even practiced with each other before the Major. We kind of mind gamed a lot, we even doing triple-nade strats and stuff. That’s unfortunate, but at the end of the day they won a lot of ridiculous rounds like Shahzam won 1v3 at the very end of game. That’s just bad by us.

I won’t say we were unlucky, we played bad, we talked about it and people agree that we were playing without a confidence and that’s why we lost all these rounds.


VPEsports: So maybe there was no problem with performance in terms of mechanics, but with the mentality?

ImAPet: Yeah, I think that mental stuff has something to do with it. I feel like we played much more shy and more timid than we used to. Even during the Challengers Stage when we went   3:0, we played a lot more confident and were making a lot more comfortable plays. But at the Legends Stage every time we played kind of scared, not as active in our communication. It hurt us and we talked about it between maps in our series versus compLexity but I think it was a little too late. Damage was done so it’s hard to fix it in the moment.


VPEsports: After your quite easy run through New Challengers Stage, do you think that players became overconfident?

ImAPet: I mean I rather the overconfident than underconfident. What I said in interviews before, it’s like cocky, I know that but If I show my team whatever weakness, If I said something like we are scared or this teams so much better, then players will feel the same. It will bring a lot more pressure. I think about my team even when I say something like that. I want to have confidence in ourselves.


VPEsports: You had the longest time window between stages, what preparations had you done?

ImAPet: We practiced everyday, four-five pracs per day. Just tried to fix stuff that we failed or some other weaknesses. For example Cache is a map we weren’t that comfortable with, but that’s something we were working on it after we went 3:0. We put a lot of work in, we didn’t take a break or chill. We kept playing. Just another day pressure got to us and that’s the reason we didn’t go further.


VPEsports: Do you think now, that maybe you had to take that break for a day to chill out?

ImAPet: I think that for one day we didn’t do as much practice, we just chilled and had fun. We try to relax each day, but one day was a lot more. Maybe we could take a full day, but people wanted to play in our team and I’m not going to argue with them. That’s like the one thing you wanna hear as the coach.


VPEsports: Your map decision was weird to me because you chose Nuke against coL, and they were confident enough on it to play against Astralis… Did that ring a bell to you?

ImAPet: We discussed it as a team. We practiced a lot with compLexity, keep this in mind. So, they kind of know all what we wanted to do on every single map except Nuke. We never played Nuke that much before and we changed a lot of stuff during the five days we had after the Challengers Stage. If you compare the demos from the 3:0 to that match you’ll see that we didn’t play same at all. And I feel the maps didn’t even bite us in the ass, Cause as you saw the scores were all close and we lost ridiculous rounds.


VPEsports: After you ended your run at the Major, how did the team talk go?

ImAPet: Yeah, we had a team talk, also one of the problems we discussed was like we weren’t really hitting shots that match besides Brehze, he played insane the whole tournament. But it felt like we didn’t play as much, slacked into the Major. I feel like we didn’t put as much time in us as in individuals this tournament. If you watch our games, we definitely miss some crucial kills. I am not talking about a crazy 2k spray that is not necessary, but kills that we should get – I feel like we missed that this time around. It’s fine, it happens, we learnt from it. For now, we are going to the next tournament in Shanghai so we should be fine I think.


VPEsports: Have you already thought about making a roster change?

ImAPet: I don’t think we are going to do anything. But we have a sport psychologist that we’re supposed to use, but we didn’t. That’s like something we are going to try.


VPEsports: You didn’t?

ImAPet: We did use him, but we should do it more than we should’ve. We used him four or five times, but then we had a chance to use him in between the stages but people didn’t really buy into the system so we kind of messed up with that, it could have helped us with the pressure, and we will use him more in future. We need to take it seriously.


VPEsports: To end the interview… perhaps you have some words to the fans and all who put NRG into Pick’ems?

ImAPet: Our bad, we messed up. We messed up last year too, but we learn from it. Everyone in our team is smart and capable so we will bounce back and keep improving.

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