Kerala Blasters will look to register their first three points after suffering an opening day defeat to ATK Mohun Bagan…
Kerala Blasters will be up against NorthEast United on Thursday evening in their second Indian Super League (ISL) game this season. The Tuskers didn’t have a great start to their campaignn as they suffered a 1-0 defeat to ATK Mohun Bagan in their opening tie.
Coach Kibu Vicuna mentioned that his side wouldn’t take NorthEast lightly given how well organised they are, as was witnessed in their 1-0 win over Mumbai City FC last week. He also pointed that his side need to work on their finishing as they can ill afford to miss goalscoring opportunities which can come back to haunt them.
“They (NorthEast) played well against Mumbai. They are a very organised team. They also had chances and tried to play out from the goalkeeper and tried to perform fast counter attacks.
“I think we controlled the game against ATK Mohun Bagan but they scored. We have to improve in the final third,” said the Spanish coach.
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Vicuna stated that the level of competition in the ISL is very high given that each team has a strong squad.
“We could see 10 teams playing and the results are very even. It is going to be a very tough league, with different teams and styles. All the teams have good players and we have to focus only on tomorrow’s game,” he said.
NorthEast United coach Gerard Nus mentioned that his team will go into the game against Kerala as underdogs given that the budget of the southern team is considerably higher. However, Vicuna refused to be drawn into the conversation around how much his team has spent in the summer.
“It’s XI versus XI. In football, the budget is more for the comments of the media and the supporters. It is about passion, performances, tactics, emotions. We are in the process. Most of the teams are in the same moment. We are creating the identity. We are doing the same thing we did last season, in a shorter time,” said Vicuna, whose Mohun Bagan side played close to 30 matches before they participated in the I-League.
Nishu Kumar and Rahul K.P. didn’t see any game-time in their opening game and Vicuna was asked to share an update on the duo’s fitness.
“We are happy to have them in our team. When they are 100 per cent fit and ready, they will be able to help the team. He (Nishu) is training with the team, he is feeling better.”
Sahal Abdul Samad came in for criticism from certain quarters as he missed a goalscoring opportunity against ATK Mohun Bagan. Vicuna was quick to come to his defence and backed him to come good in the coming matches.
“Sahal is a very good player for us. He is an important player and we have to create a good environment for him. It is only the first match. I think he did some good things, he had two chances and he went close. We are happy with him, we think he can be a very important player for us.
“I think we are creating a good and strong team. We have to focus on the players we have right now. To think about players from the past won’t do any good for us. We worked hard to create this team.”