“No one is thinking about football” – Ivan Vukomanovic

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Amidst the COVID issues in the ISL bubble, several teams are in isolation in their respective bubbles as a result of which, both Ivan Vukomanovic and Enes Sipovic attended the pre match press conference from their respective places rather than both sitting in front of the same laptop in the designated space.

As a part of the isolation, Kerala Blasters haven’t trained for the past two-three days. “Not only our club, 9 clubs are in lockdown.” said Ivan Vukomanovic. “The situation is not easy. No one is talking about football games anymore because everyone is concerned about various things.”, said Ivan on the toughness of the situation.

Enes Sipovic was asked to open up about his bubble life experience. “It’s my third season in a bubble.”, he shares, “I started my bubble life in Qatar when Corona started. We experienced this kind of game and to be honest, it’s not simple, especially when you are closed in your room. You only think about how to not get in contact with the virus, especially when you have a wife, kids and in my case, we are expecting a baby. I have to somehow take care of them.”

“It’s exhausting as you cannot go out to train and you don’t have many things to do. But that’s what we have to do in order to finish the season. As the coach said, we aren’t able to focus on football. It becomes difficult to focus on your profession. You just think about when this thing will end.”, expressed the defender.

Since Ivan’s team hasn’t trained for the past few days, they haven’t prepared for the game against Mumbai City FC against whom they claimed a convincing 3-0 win. Amidst a lot of positive cases in the bio-bubble, this game too looks under scrutiny.

“When you don’t go to train, you don’t prepare for the game. When you don’t prepare for the game, what you see is bad football, with the risk of injuries. Now we are in that part of the season where injuries can affect a player’s career. As it’s January and a club can easily find a replacement in the market.”, concerned the coach.

“It concerns a lot. As I said that in those circumstances people think about many other things but not football. It becomes difficult. I hope that everybody will stay safe and healthy. I’m very confident in the people from ISL because they have everything under control by testing and organizing all these things around. But it’s not easy because we can’t go to train and prepare for the games.”

“In the first leg, that game was one of the games where we wanted to play in a certain way. We were pleased with the result. Talking about tomorrow’s game, I can’t say anything. We still don’t know if the game will be played or not.”, said Ivan Vukomanovic who, despite not having a single training session since the last game, wants to go ahead to the game; but without the circumstances saying otherwise.

The table-toppers talk won’t settle down anytime soon. If Blasters win this game, they will remain at the top for the third round in a row. But the head coach doesn’t want it to get into the head of the team. “The moment you start thinking that you are the best in the world, you are done!” said Ivan Vukomanovic.

“During the season, the moment you start being relaxed and getting that euphoria; speaking and announcing big words, you crumble. Why we want to stay like this is because no one in this league is going to offer us anything. We have to fight for that and the only way to fight for that and to achieve that is by staying together as a team, focused and concentrated. The moment you get arrogant, you are history. And we don’t want to do that.”, emphasised Ivan on his and the team’s morals.

Ivan Vukomanovic doesn't want the table toppers tag to get into the team's head.
Ivan Vukomanovic doesn’t want the table-toppers tag to get into the team’s head [Pic: ISL]

“I can understand emotions and euphoria from the fans but we, from our side as a team, cannot do that. If we at the end of the season achieve certain things, we will have our moments to cheer!”, said Ivan while acknowledging the fans as he left a cheerful message for them.

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