Kerala Blasters will take on Jamshedpur FC in an ISL fixture on Sunday at Jamshedpur.

After a bad run of few games, Kerala Blasters have managed to bring their campaign back on track with three consecutive wins. On the other hand, League Shield Winners Jamshedpur FC are having a very poor season whereby they are currently on a four-match losing streak. With such a contrasting scenario between the two teams, they will meet at Jamshedpur on Sunday. A day prior to the game, Kerala Blasters head coach Ivan Vukomanovic and player Nishu Kumar addressed the pre-match press conference. 

Edited excerpts from the conference are as follows.

JFC’s current run will be advantageous for his team?

Ivan Vukomanovic refuted any claim that the current contrasting runs of the two respective teams will be advantageous for Kerala. He stated how all the teams in the league are close to each other in terms of quality. He said:

“No, I don’t think so because we have seen that anybody can beat anybody in this league. This is why this league is so interesting. I think our tomorrow’s opponent is a very strong team. Every team in this league gets some momentum in any phase of a season. So, it does not change anything. In our case also, before our three victories, we faced three defeats. So, in this league, anything can happen. I believe both teams will be highly motivated for the game.”

On the current World Cup

Ivan Vukomanovic expressed his thoughts on the ongoing World Cup. He gave reasons for the premature elimination of certain big teams and what it means for the smaller teams. He stated: 

“I think this is the first time in the history of the World Cup that it is being held at this time of the year. It is also kind of an experiment from the side of FIFA to see how it will evolve. I was saying before the World Cup that many players will not be in top shape because many of the top players are playing in European clubs. Many of them are exhausted after playing competitive games. They arrived in Qatar only one week before the World Cup. That is why we are seeing many of the best players not being able to perform at the top level. That is also why some of the top national teams went out.”

The tactician added, “This is also the reason many small teams are motivated to play well. They are a little bit more eager to show their grit and mentality to grow through. That is why we are seeing these kinds of results. Some favourite teams are already out. I expect some better football in the knockout stages and hope the better team wins.”   

Nishu Kumar on how their preseason had been and his reaction to the current season

Nishu Kumar talked about their preseason in Dubai and told how the preseason had been helpful for the side. He also talked about how their current season is going. He said, “The season has been going very well for us. We went to Dubai for our preseason where we played a few games. Those games were highly competitive. As of now, we have won three consecutive games. Hence, the confidence level of the team is really high.”

The defender continued, “Jamshedpur is a good team. They are the Shield Winners from last season. So, I believe it will be a competitive game. We are fully ready for it.”

Atmosphere at Kerala Blasters for the growth of youngsters

Nishu talked about the atmosphere at Kerala Blasters and how it is helpful for youngsters.

“The fact that most clubs take good care of their youngsters is a very good sign for the players. When I was a youngster, everyone from the management to the coaching staff supported us a lot. We also got to learn a lot from the foreigners. I personally get to learn a lot from Marko Leskovic. Overall, the atmosphere is very favourable for the growth of youngsters.”

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