Kerala Blasters face FC Goa in their first game of the new year. The Gaurs have a better head-to-head record against the Yellow Army but recent form and position in the points table give Kerala Blasters a slight advantage. FC Goa sits in the 9th spot on the table, while Kerala Blasters are placed in the 5th spot.
Kerala Blasters head coach Ivan Vukomanovic addressed the media ahead of the match against FC Goa on Sunday at the Tilak Maidan Stadium.
The new year has opened the curtain to the transfer window, which has begun with a bang with rumors of some top signing to be completed by clubs. Ivan was asked in this context, whether he wishes to sign any new player in the January transfer window. Below is his response-
“The group of foreigners will remain the same. Our management is in talks with some players in the transfer market, and we will hope they can act in time, and then we might have some new players. Otherwise, we will have the same team”
The matches are coming thick and fast and there is less recovery time for the players. Ivan spoke about it when he was asked why the team was looking tired in their last match against Jamshedpur.
“I think every game is different. In every game, you have a different approach. If you take into consideration the fatigue and the fitness that the players have to go through continuously in the season, we were very exhausted having played three games in seven days. In football, we have to attack, defend, press and win duels depending on the situation of the game. So whenever we face new opponents we try to get the maximum points that we can get out of those games.”
Ivan feels the league is very competitive with to much difference between the teams.
“We have to admit that since we arrived my feeling is that in this ISL, any team can beat any team and it has happened so far. Not only speaking in our case but if you see all other teams we’ve seen that the best teams can lose against smaller teams. Also in the games where we were everybody was expecting the outcome the result was completely opposite so again this is a very interesting and very competitive league and nobody can predict the outcome of the matches.”
Every season Kerala Blasters fans have high expectations of the performances of their team. The gaffer was asked if he believes the team can win the title, to which responded as follows:
“We want to give our everything and work hard to build a very strong team that will be difficult to beat in the future as well. Although every team wants to be there we cannot say our objective is to win the league. But from our perspective we didn’t have a good performance last season, so we cannot speak big words that we will be there. We have to be humble and work and a month later if we are in a favorable position we will see how we can approach the final stage of the season.”
There have been quite a few mistakes in decision-making from the referees that have cost many teams. Ivan spoke about what is wrong and he gave his opinion on how it can be improved.
“If you look at all those referees decisions in last eight games we could have had at least four points more which would put us on the top of the table but I always say that they are also trying to do their best so they have to make some decisions in a couple of seconds and so I understand that for them sometimes is not easy they’re already under pressure.
“The only way that they can improve and the league can improve is by educating referees and introducing new modern technologies like VAR and goal-line technology or bringing foreign referees. But at the end of the day, we cannot control this thing as a coaching staff. I never criticize them but the federation and authorities should educate them. We can only hope that correct decisions are being taken by the match officials.”
Indian Football is developing and there is enormous potential. But Ivan feels there are still couple of things that needs to fixed to improve the standard of the league and quality of players.
“I feel the league is still developing and right way hopefully that even in the league will be on a long term not for three and a half months. it is not very favorable for players to have that large break throughout the year and then come and prepare for that short period because it’s not good for their fitness level. So if these changes are made then it will be good for the development of Indian Football.“
Promising winger Rahul KP suffered an injury in the early stages of the season, the player was out of the bio-bubble as he went for his surgery. Ivan brought some clarity on when the fans might see him return back on the field.
“We are expecting him to return probably in the next five or seven days. For a while, he will be working with the physios and then if he will be fit to play, we might see him back on the pitch from the middle of January. He will be with the team trying to work and prepare for the upcoming games.”
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