Ahead of Kerala Blasters match against Hyderabad FC in which they earned all 3 points, IFTWC got a chance to interview the Blasters SD, Mr. Karolis Skinkys
Starting with the interview, looking at the struggles of the team we asked Karolis about the challenges faced by the team at the moment which need to be addressed immediately.
Karolis was quick to address the issues and told that “the most important thing is that we know we are better than what the results show. We are missing the maturity to show this in games and maybe struggling with expectations. Some links in the attack are still missing, but, we continue to work with patience and effort. It‘s the only way to climb up”.
Kerala Blasters have been successful in sending their player on loan in past in order to provide them more game time and be ready for the future. Looking at this point and the upcoming winter transfer window Karolis was asked about any upcoming loan deals in the transfer window. He told that “Some deals might happen in January, but, they‘re probably more for the future”.
While Juande has already joined the Blasters as a replacement for Cido, we had asked the SD whether Cido’s replacement will be someone who is already proven. Probably someone who has already proved himself in ISL.
Karolis answered that “Cido‘s replacement is planned. The Coach had requested a different profile of player, so we looked at options that fit this profile and can slot into the system best”.
While results have not been in the favor of the Blasters, most of them have been due to the team losing the game from the winning positions. Since the beginning of last season, Kerala Blasters have lost 19 points from the winning position. We asked Karolis whether this has anything to do with the team’s mentality or pressure. Is there a specialist assigned particularly to take care of the morale of the players?
Karolis told that “it‘s the same answer as the first question. We are not mature enough and not ready to handle expectations. The most important thing is that every player in the team has to be prepared to deal with the pressure, either on their own or with the help of other players. The coaching staff is paying a lot of attention to this. We saw the improved mentality in the last game(against EB) where we could and should have won the game. So, we hope we can continue to build on this and grow on the mental side of the game”.
While a completely new set of foreigners were recruited by the Blasters, there was a belief that we might get to see someone who already has experience of playing in the league. We asked Karolis for this reason for not recruiting an ISL experienced foreigner. He told that “there was no particular reason for this. I was in conversations with a few players from ISL. But the deal didn‘t materialize”.
Although the team won its match against Hyderabad FC, the team performances have been something to worry about. We took this interview before the match and asked Karolis about the season ahead for the team looking at the performances and the results.
Karolis was quick to accept the fact that “the current results and playing level is not acceptable. Each of us should work and show a better version of ourselves. We are working hard and one win can change a lot for the rest of the season”.
While there is still time left in the season, other teams are already looking strong. On this note, we asked him whether the fans and audience can expect a rise in the team’s performance from their current level and match other teams.
Karolis addressed the issue and told that “we need to achieve that. The league is very equal, one or another well-played match can give some much-needed confidence. So, I would like to ask fans to support our players as much as they can. It is needed the most in such moments, even more so than when the team is winning”.
There have been 9 coaching changes in the Blasters management in 7 seasons. The fans have already voiced their concern over providing the coaches more than one season in order for the coach to continue his chemistry with the players for the next season and improve on the results. The fans even wanted Eelco Schattorie to continue for the ongoing season of the league. However, the management brought in I league winning coach Kibu Vicuna for the season. On this note, Karolis was asked whether we can see a continuation in the coaching position even if Kibu fails to deliver this season.
We were unable to get a clear answer to this question as the SD told us that “it‘s not the right moment to discuss such topics. Our concentration is on games and performance. We are working together as a team and supporting each other”.
Ending with the interview we asked Karolis about the future plans for this team and youth teams?
Karolis concluded by saying that “there are many plans, it‘s a very wide question. We need to follow the situation and take it step by step”