Ivan Vukomanovic – We must be careful about every small details against Jamshedpur

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Ivan Vukomanovic

Kerala Blasters FC will take on Jamshedpur FC in their 1st leg semi-final clash in the ISL on Friday at the Fatorda Stadium. The Tuskers failed to come away with a win in either of their meetings with the Red Miners on the league stage. The Blasters had a tally of 34 points from 20 matches. KBFC played an entertaining 4-4 draw against FC Goa in their last match. Two late goals by Vincy Barretto and Alvaro Vazquez helped them secure a point from the match and finish fourth in the league table.

On the other hand, Jamshedpur FC made their first appearance in the last four of the ISL, has been in the stunning form under head coach Owen Coyle and have won seven consecutive matches. The side sealed its top spot and picked up their first League Winners’ Shield after beating ATK Mohun Bagan 1-0 in its final league stage game. The Men Of Steel have collected a total of 43 points in 20 games.

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Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic and midfielder Jeakson Singh addressed the media ahead of their clash against Jamshedpur FC. Below are the excerpts from the press conference.

Ivan summed up the Blasters’ campaign so far and also his feeling to be where the team is right now.

“It’s a better feeling than when we started this adventure. We think we are on the right path. We think we have improved a lot as a club. I think we can become better. As a club, we started controlling the objective part. We are now standing where nobody expected us to be standing and this gives us extra motivation and power. We’re sorry that we couldn’t perform in front of fans. We hope this wouldn’t be the case next season. It has affected everybody a lot. But I am doubly motivated to continue and hopefully, we will achieve better results.

“This playoff gives you even more pleasure and motivation to continue. As an ex-football player and now a coach, I feel privileged that I got to do something that I love. I feel for those who have to go to work and do something that they don’t like, just to provide for their family. So, it’s a pleasure and joy that we do something that we love. When you get paid for that it’s better. We’re privileged because we are working in a business that’s football.”

Jamshedpur FC won the league shield. Ivan shared his views on how difficult the game might be against the Men of Steel.

“They are a physically tough team. The previous 20 games in the ISL are a thing of the past now. It’s a new day and a new chapter so it will be different. It’s going to be a good fight between the two sides considering the style of play we approach. Both teams will want to qualify. The fact that I don’t like it is that we are playing two games. It should be a one-game. But anyway, it will be an open fight in 180 minutes. Physically tough game, many duels, many runnings in the night – it will be like that. It’s always going to be like that against Jamshedpur.”

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It’s hard to break Jamshedpur FC’s back four. Ivan spoke on if there will be a change in philosophy to be more effective in the final third.

“We have seen this year anyone can beat anyone. When you’re facing a tough team in the playoffs you go around small details, because it can influence the game and make a difference. These details decide whether you win or lose the game. You can score from these moments. In these kinds of games, you cannot focus on one or two specific details. You have to be ready and explore all kinds of possibilities and utilize them. We need to be focused till the extra time. You have to be careful about certain details. We have to try to explore in order to get a good result. We will do our best.”

“So tomorrow, we will be trying not to make these fouls and give away penalties. We must be concentrated on every possible detail of the game from our defensive line, how we press, how we defend the set-pieces, and all other kinds of details. In the playoffs, we have to think about everything and be prepared.”

Ivan spoke about Hormipam getting selected for the Indian national team.

“Actually, Jeakson can give more information about that because they are roommates (laughs). He’s a great person, a great player with great potential and great progression. Not only him, but all the youngsters who are here to improve, to develop even more. Because we must not forget that this is his first season in the ISL level and I’m very glad that among other players, he’s dealt with strong players to achieve points and all these different kinds of feelings. 

“So, our objective since we started, with not only him but all the other young players we recognized that they need to play. And that we have to try to improve them even more. We’re very happy and glad that we have a couple of players on the national team list. We will continue working hard with them because this is a great motivation for us and for the club. I think they can be even better.”

Ivan Vukomanovic - We must be careful about every small details against Jamshedpur

Below are the excerpts of midfielder Jeakson Singh from the press conference.

You missed the last two games, how ready do you feel for the challenge?

I feel I am ready. It doesn’t matter which team we are playing, it doesn’t matter if we play them in the league stage or semi-final. I think every match is important. And I am ready to give my 100% for the team.”

How’s the feeling in the camp as KBFC has never defeated JFC, does it add to the pressure?

“It’s a great feeling. I have been here for the past three years, now we are finally in the playoffs. We are here because of everyone’s hard work. And now we are looking forward to beating JFC and going through to the finals.”

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