The Tuskers are all set to host the Mariners at Tilak Maidan stadium. As the clubs enter the final phases of the regular season, both are in the top four and will be battling for three points. Coach Ivan Vukomanovic and Argentine forward Jorge Pereyra Diaz addressed the media ahead of their game against ATKMB tomorrow.
In their most recent match against SC East Bengal, they had four goalkeepers in the lineup, which is unprecedented in football. The Blasters had to use everyone because some of their players were injured or suspended. This is what coach Vukomanovic had to say about it.
“We had a couple of issues and injured players. We had three open spots, so we decided to put everyone available, all of them are working hard, and we wanted to give them a feeling of being with the team. That is quite odd, I think not one team in history has aligned four keepers in a game, but we wanted to have them because they are also a part of the team. I hope it was a nice feeling for them. Hopefully, we will not have any more chances to align four keepers, we’ll have more players.”
ATK Mohun Bagan is a well-balanced team in both attacking and defending. Ivan was asked if he would start two of his usual four offensive players or two foreign center backs. He responded by saying,
“We still have today’s training to prepare certain things. We are grateful because they are all available. Now it’s about fighting for the points, we want to fight because we want to stay on top. We’ll have to puzzle because now they all have returned to their shape. Today after training the technical staff will sit down, talk about the game and that’s when we will decide. In this kind of game, we’ll have to attack and defend, so it’s important to have them all ready. Unfortunately, only four of them can play. We’ll see that after the training.”
Vukomanovic and his boys lost their first game of the season to ATKMB, who they will face tomorrow. KBFC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic believes that the loss in that game was a long time ago and that both teams have changed since then.
“I feel like our first loss against them happened two years ago because of everything that has happened so far. Since then, many things have changed, especially in our camp. Now we are in the final lap, and now it’s about how the teams will enter the fight with the correct mentality and mindset. Good teams want to fight for points to be on top of the table. I hope tomorrow we can have a good game, and we can get on the pitch well-prepared and motivated against a good team.”
“Now it’s about the points, it’s not about the beauty of football. It’s about how we are going to approach the game and how we will react, show our quality and try to achieve points.”
Since Juan Ferrando took over as ATKMB’s head coach, the team has experimented with many formations and has become an unpredictable team. The Serbian strategist seemed unconcerned about this, as he would like to focus on his team.
“No, when it comes to game preparation, we look at ourselves more than our opponents. As a coach, you learn you don’t have to bother with things you cannot control. You have scouting, but you cannot control who plays and how things will happen. We then look at ourselves, how we want to attack and defend. They are a good team and that’s why they are on the top. We will show we have quality, and we will be competitive.”
Ivan Vukomanovic has given numerous young players opportunities throughout this season. He believes that the league should be longer for players to develop and gain more experience.
“I am very happy that all our boys had playtime. For youngsters, it is very important to build up their shape and grow up as players because the ISL is a tough competition. I was happy with their performance in the last game. I am happy with many of them because they improved a lot. The whole team improved in many aspects and hopefully, they’ll get more playing time. I am certain that they will play more minutes. I am sorry that the league is short. The league should be 7 or 8 months long so that all the players can develop and explore many moments and experience many games, but that’s not the case, so with whatever they get they have to use it to become better.”
Coach also talked about how important it is in modern football to have a consistent team for a longer period. Ivan feels that the Blasters’ management can keep their key players and continue to construct a strong team capable of competing at the highest level.
“If it continues, then it will be very nice. There should be mutual respect. If the players like being here with the quality they are bringing to the team, they’ll always be welcome. This is our goal. In football, nothing can be built in a short term. It’s impossible to create a team that can achieve things in a month or two because there are no aspects we have to build to create the things that we want and in a longer-term, we need one or two seasons to build a team with a legacy that will hold for the next couple of years. We’ll try to retain most of our players and also reinforce with certain characters, mentalities, and qualities that we need for the upcoming seasons. This is very important in modern football to create a modern team, the people within the group know each other and respect each other like that you build a better atmosphere and the things improve, and you become the top team and the team that will have the longer momentum. I think Kerala Blasters will do that in the next period because Kerala Blasters deserves it.”
Argentine forward Jorge Pereyra Diaz said he’d like to return to Kerala for another season, “I’d like to stay for another year if the Kerala Blasters wants me and the clubs can reach an agreement. I like it here and I am happy.”