Kochi (kerala) [India], February 2 (ANI): Ahead of the clash against NorthEast United FC, Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic said that his team need to stay even more ready as the team has the same level of victories like last year, with five more games to go and they need to stay strong.
After each matchweek of the Indian Super League (ISL), the league table has witnessed an upswing of several teams into the top six and at the same time the plunge of other teams in the lower half. Following back-to-back losses against Mumbai City FC and FC Goa, Kerala Blasters FC hosted NorthEast United FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Kochi.
With their playoffs qualification yet to be confirmed, the Blasters returned to winning ways and did so in style in their 2-0 victory in front of the home crowd.
"This is our objective. As a club, since last year, when we arrived, we were talking about building up a strong unit that will be participating in playoffs every year by being strong throughout the season, and getting victories. I think now that we are on the same level of victories as last year, we need to stay strong with five more games to go. We need to stay united, we need to stay even more ready than ever before," ISL.com quoted Vukomanovic as saying.
The Blasters earned their ninth win of the season as they reclaimed the third spot in the league table. Head coach Ivan Vukomanovic sat down with Kerala Blasters FC and talked about his side's victory against NorthEast United FC, shedding light on how the season is progressing, his side's mentality, and the team's preparedness ahead of the playoffs.
"It was absolutely crucial that we achieved these three points in this period of the season, five big steps to go and get three points, climbing, and staying third on the ISL points. It was hugely important to get it done on Sunday. It was not easy to dominate, organize and play this kind of game after two defeats not only on the physical level but on a mental level. It was hard to prepare, it was hard to get there. I'm very glad to see the boys how responded on Sunday, especially in the first half," Vukomanovic said while talking about the fixture against NorthEast United FC.
"Having that power and motivation to want to score goals. Wanting to get the game under control. And then like that, managing the game and getting these three points. We knew that by not doing that we could have brought us into a difficult situation. So without force and quality, we managed this game last night to get us where we are now so we are really happy and thrilled about it," he added.
Having reached the final of ISL 2021-22 season, the 45-year-old hasn't made any significant changes to the squad, keeping the core of his team intact. Summer signing Bryce Miranda, who joined Kerala Blasters FC from I-League side Churchill Brothers has two goals and two assists in seven appearances for the club. Vukomanovic elaborated on the importance of new signings getting adapted to not just the team but the league, the style of play, and its intensity in general, highlighting the contrast between the two leagues.
"I was happy to see him and all the other boys last night repeating and doing certain things from training sessions. He was scoring that first goal with a cross, the things that you want to do against those teams. Not only Bryce (Miranda), if you speak about any player coming from the I-League for the first time in the ISL, there are many things that must be changed, the approach of every game, every training, concentration, and professionalism. Then the intensity of training and all these things the players need time to adapt. They need time to be accepted to a dressing room to a new group of players," Vukomanovic stated. (ANI)