Ivan Vukomanovic‘s Kerala Blasters FC will be going into the match on Saturday against ATK Mohun Bagan FC after securing a 1-0 win over SC East Bengal on the previous match-day. Currently, sitting fourth in the Indian Super League, Kerala Blasters will be looking to push on further up the table with a victory over last year’s finalists in ATKMB.
When asked about what Ivan’s winning combination might be against ATKMB tomorrow, he goes on to say, “We still have today’s training to fix certain things and to prepare certain things. We are grateful to have most of our players available for tomorrow’s game and for now, the main focus is to win the 3 points at hand tomorrow.” When asked about his thoughts over KBFC‘s progress especially after losing to ATKMB at the start of the season, he goes on to say, “Our first loss to them feels like it happened two years ago, especially after whatever has happened since then. Since then many things have changed, especially in our camp. We are now at the final line of the race and it’s all about our mentality because now almost every team is going to fight hard for points. I hope to come out on the pitch tomorrow with the right mentality against quality opposition like ATK Mohun Bagan. Now, it is not about ‘champagne football’ but it’s all about the points.”
Ivan Vukomanovic was then asked about his thoughts regarding ATKMB’s possible line-up in tomorrow’s match, owing to several injuries and whether the element of uncertainty regarding the line-up hampers his and the coaching staff’s plans regarding the preparation going into tomorrow’s match against ATKMB- “No, because when we speak about game preparation, we focus on ourselves more than on our opponents because as time passes, as a coach you learn that you don’t have to bother about the things you cannot control so to speak about our opponent’s possible line-up, we have a scouting department for that but we cannot control or predict what will happen on their end tomorrow. We can however focus on our preparation going into tomorrow’s game which will give us a lot of confidence. We prepare well regardless of the opposition we face on the day.”
Kerala has the lowest shot-creating action and set-piece efficiency in the league. So how do you look to address this issue of creating more chances? Ivan says, “Many teams nowadays don’t care about the beauty of playing football, instead they care about defensive solidity to give up fewer chances to their opponents. As we near the end, we want to be more secure, organized and compact and the couple of chances that you get during the game will need to be capitalized on efficiently. Due to fewer training sessions owing to the Covid outbreak, it is crucial to find a solution as to how to win games and not care much about the statistics.”
When asked about how he views his squad in terms of ‘continuity’ going forward, Ivan responds, “Our approach to the games and the atmosphere we create within the squad especially if we are going to sign new players in the future or retain the current ones requires us to be mobile and gradually improve the quality of our squad over time because the ISL is a shorter league as compared to other domestic leagues around the world so it is virtually impossible for us to build and only plan for the short term. We must look towards the long term benefits as well. We want to create a good squad in the short term but build on it in the long term with consistency and efficiency. We will do our best to retain all of our current players, both foreign and domestic in order to retain one group and then to enforce upon this group certain characteristics and mentality that we will be requiring for the upcoming seasons. It is very important in modern football that we create a modern team and create a harmonious and respectable environment within the squad. This good atmosphere will then naturally improve us as individuals and we will get the necessary momentum required to dominate the league in the upcoming seasons.”
Ivan goes on to say that he is extremely pleased with the energy of the fans surrounding the club as a whole and the positive results are all owing to their constant love and support. “Kerala Blasters is a club that is building for the future. With the support of its loyal fans, there is no doubt that we will carry on this momentum into the upcoming seasons and end up being a dominant force in the Indian footballing landscape.”
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