Ivan Vukomanovic – We are honored to be a part of this tournament but we are not pleased with the situation

Ivan vukomanovic
Ivan vukomanovic

Kerala Blasters head coach Ivan Vukomanovic met with the media on Monday afternoon ahead of their final group game in the Durand Cup against Delhi FC tomorrow.

Ahead of the important fixture, the boss answered questions on the dramatic game against Bengaluru, the absence of a foreign holding midfielder and the availability of his players, among other topics. He was joined by new foreign signing, Enes Sipovic.

Ivan Vukomanovic on Kerala Blasters’ red cards against Bengaluru FC

“These red cards could be avoided, of course. In the first half, we had control over the game, we created chances to score goals. In the second half, the officials lost the grip of the game and it affected the players’ reactions on the pitch. The red cards were given correctly. Even if the players are provoked or lose concentration, they still can’t respond like that.”

“We had a few scenarios when the opposition players did not hand us the ball when it was our throw-in, and our players were getting affected. Despite that and a few refereeing decisions, they should still not act like that and I was not pleased with them. So, their biggest punishment will be that tomorrow they won’t participate in the game.”

On how he approaches tomorrow’s game

“We are struggling to train here. We have been out only 5 times in the two weeks we have spent in Kolkata. We couldn’t train the day before both our games, due to the heavy rainfall. Today is the same case, the training ground is underwater and we will not be able to train. Just going to the gym and sitting inside will not help our preseason, technically speaking.”

“Thus this Durand Cup period in our preseason is just a waste of time. Tomorrow’s game will not be a football game ; it will just be rolling and fighting in the mud like the Bengaluru FC game against Delhi FC. From a preseason perspective, our best option is to go to Goa as soon as possible.”

On injuries and availability of players

Ivan Vukomanovic - We are honored to be a part of this tournament but we are not pleased with the situation kerala min

“Hakku is still out, he is with the medical staff. Sahal has only trained twice with us since he returned from his national team. It will be impossible to field him in these grounds and very soon he will have to go with the national team again. The same goes for Chencho, he has also trained only twice. However, we are yet to decide our team for tomorrow, we have to see whether they can train today.”

Enes Sipović on new signing Marko Lešković and competition for his spot

“We have five centre-backs now. I think it will be difficult for the coach to decide whom to start. In the training sessions, all of us show a lot of determination and quality. As players, it is our job to train hard and show our abilities every time we get any opportunity to play.”

Sipović on why he chose Kerala Blasters

“I had a few offers from the middle-east, from Israel and Oman. They offered me contracts but I chose Kerala. I know the league, I felt good last year at the Indian Super League, I also have the experience of maintaining the bio-bubble here. I know about the huge fanbase that Kerala has and I experienced it a little when i was in Kochi, when we played friendly games or were in the hotel or training grounds. Seeing them, waving hello to them. Last season was unlike this as we entered the bubble right from the very first day; it was very difficult.”

Vukomanovic on not having a foreign defensive midfielder in the squad

“Our reason for scouting players in this style is to avoid the situation faced by the club last season. Say you need to deploy a striker on the pitch. Then, you need to remove a foreigner. We did not want to change players around just to accommodate one substitute. So, I like to have foreign players in similar positions. Otherwise, a player will train in one position and play in another just for one substitution.”

“Like-for-like substitutions will help the team. From the club’s side, Kerala decided to develop some young players this season. We have one of the youngest teams in the league with interesting youngsters in various positions. So it was our choice to give the youngsters’ more playing time as well.”

Ivan Vukomanovic - We are honored to be a part of this tournament but we are not pleased with the situation keralaaa min

On organizing more friendlies before the ISL season

“Of course, we have already planned two games in Goa on 12th and 5th November and before that, there will probably be two more games on 8th and 15th of October. So, a minimum of 4 games in Goa.”

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