Kerala Blasters FC will be returning to face one of the strongest teams in the league, Mumbai City FC, after bagging a much-needed win against Hyderabad FC on a two-goal margin. Jordan Murray and Abdul Hakku were the goal scorers in the previous match after Kibu Vicuna had brought about five startling changes to the teamsheet.
“Mumbai City is a good team with good players. They’ve played well and they’re one of the best teams in the competition. They have a distinct style of play, they’re good both offensively and defensively. But we are improving and we’ve showcased a better performance in the last two games. We are preparing for the game according to the kind of players they have and the kind of style they showcase. They’ve le Fondre and Bartholomew Ogbeche, who was an integral part of us in the previous season. We’re still improving ourselves in the training session and I’m happy with the way we are training. Our objective is to be the best version on Kerala Blasters tomorrow and I hope we’ll play a good game tomorrow and secure the three points.”
Kerala Blasters had lesser possession in their previous games, unlike the other games they have played till now in the season, and yet managed to make the best use of the chances they received and scored two goals against Hyderabad FC with immense work-rate. When asked if this is a style that’ll be followed throughout the season ahead, Kibu Vicuna said,
“It’s true that we created more chances and we focused a bit more on our defense but Hyderabad plays a possession-based football and that’s what cost us possession in the last game. But I think we are more flexible now and we have different possibilities inside our team.”
Sahal Abdul Samad was seen in a wider position in the last two games. On that note, Kibu said,
“Sahal has the quality of playing wide and in the inside as well. He’s good for possessional attacks but also in transitions. He’s improving day by day. I’m think the best version of Sahal is going to come this season.”
On signing Subha Ghosh from ATK Mohun Bagan, Kibu Vicuna said,
“It’s because we wanted an Indian striker. As Shaiborlang Kharpan and Naorem Mahesh Singh departed to Sudeva, we were left with Jordan Murray and Gary Hooper alone. It’s good that now we have Subha as an option for a striker. Of course, Rahul, Puitea and Sahal can play as strikers. But Subha is young and he is a goalscorer, he doesn’t need to do too much to have a chance. I’m sure he can be a good striker for the Indian Football.”
About the new signing Juande, Kibu said,
“Juande is a player with a different profile. He is a very good player. He has mostly played as a number six but he can also play the role of a central defender; he can play in different positions. He is a player who is good with possessional attack and he is a tactically complete player. Now he is here with us to help us.”
When asked what motivated the coach to bring about five big changes in the previous game when the team was already struggling to win a game in the league. Kibu Vicuna said,
“Well, we have twenty-nine players and everybody needs a chance. And for me, it doesn’t matter if you are a foreigner or an Indian player, if you are doing well in the training, then you will secure a position in the playing eleven. Also, what is important is that we made five changes and the team won the game.”
When asked about injury updates the coach said he’d like to refrain from addressing the situations of the player but at the same time, he hinted that all of them are training to get better.