We have to see every game like it’s the last one and fight for points, says Ivan Vukomanovic

We have to see every game like it’s the last one and fight for points, says Ivan Vukomanovic

Kerala Blasters FC had a difficult week, playing three games in seven days, but Vukomanovic and his team defied all odds, winning two and drawing one. With 13 points, the Blasters are currently in fifth place in the league. Ivan Vukomanovic, the team’s coach, spoke to the media ahead of tomorrow’s match against FC Goa.

The coach presented some information about the team’s game plans and goals for the forthcoming games. He said, “Every game is different, and we have a different approach for each game. We have to consider the level of fitness and fatigue of the players. We had one of the most exhausting weeks, we played three games in seven days. Not only that, but we had to look at our fitness level, approach on how to attack and how to defend, all these things give us a feeling that we are playing differently. We always look at our new opponents, we always know that our games will be difficult. Furthermore, we try our best to get the maximum out of games and collect points.”

Ivan Vukomanovic also spoke on the league’s tight schedule in the second phase, as well as on how they are planning to deal with the fitness and recovery of the players, “In January we have a tight schedule with many games. We have to adapt to it. Our players are young, and they know how it’s like to play in short. We will manage our group, and we will see in January if any incoming transfers can refresh and rebuild the team. With all these, we can continue being strong playing high pressing or whatever we choose to do. We are confident, we are happy with the training session and our boys are working hard. So far, we are not concerned. There may be some bruises or small issues during training, but that’s a part of football. We’ll manage everything and go through it.”

The teams in the ISL have been impacted by some match officials’ decisions. Ivan agrees, but he believes the referees are doing their best. This is what the Serbian had to say about the match officials, “If you look at the decisions made by the referees in the last eight games we should’ve had at least 4 points more which would’ve put us at the top of the table, but I also think that the referees are trying to do their best. They have to make decisions in certain moments within a couple of seconds. Sometimes it’s not easy, they are already under pressure. Education is the key to everything, so the only way they can improve is to gain more experience and get educated. For us, these are the things that can’t be controlled. I prefer not to be bothered about it because it’s just a waste of time. I don’t like to use these negative things, we have to move on. As a coach, I want to focus on the things that we can control.”

“I hope as time goes by we will see better refereeing. Not only in our games but many games since the beginning some decisions were not so good. We have to work on the things that we can control, concentrate on that,” he added.

The KBFC coach also discussed on the upcoming transfer window. He said, “All our foreigners will stay. There was some talking, but this is a job for the management and I trust them completely with this. In the transfer market, we can never know if certain things can happen, so we are waiting for the right opportunity to act. So far, nothing is happening.”

The Blasters have gone undefeated in their previous seven games, and this season has been one of their greatest since their existence. When asked if winning the league was a feasible goal, he said, “From the time I’ve arrived I’ve had this feeling that in this league anybody can beat anyone and that has happened so far. Not only Kerala Blasters but also in the case of other teams. We’ve seen the so-called best teams lose against smaller teams. What’s interesting about the league is nobody can predict before the season, before there was talking like this team will be at the top, that team will make it to the finals. Now we’re seeing entirely different results from all the expectations. Before the season we can plan certain things but in football, we’ll never know, there will be surprises and anything can happen. That’s why football is called the beautiful game.”

Further, he added, “Nobody expected us to beat the current champions and the team with the best defense, but that is football. We are preparing for all the games ahead, and we are preparing like every game for us is a final. That’s the feeling we want to have before every game. We have to continue building a strong team not just for now but also for the future. We can’t say anything now, everyone wants to win and reach the highest position possible. As I’ve said before, we are a team that finished second from the bottom, and we have no right to say big words and go around saying things. Now we have a good momentum, but we have to shut up and continue working. We have to see every game like it’s the last one and fight for points.”

Ivan also discussed the league and what could be done to better it, the players, and Indian football in general from his perspective.

“Bringing new technologies and improving the refereeing will improve the league. Hopefully, the league will have more teams in the future and will be longer. It is not favorable for the players to have a long break and prepare for a short period. For professional athletes, a long gap is not good, it will affect their muscle structure. It would be good if the league is 7 or 8 months long. It will be good for Indian football.”

When asked about the center midfielders and their backup plans if one of them gets hurt, the coach responded positively, “We have many young players who can play in that position, so we are not worried,” said the Serbian tactician.

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