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ISL- Indian Super League

We aim to revive our winning culture, asserts Ivan Vukomanovic

Published at :December 26, 2023 at 1:10 PM
Modified at :January 14, 2024 at 12:33 AM
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Alen Philip Mathew

The Kerala Blasters coach also gave an injury update on Vibin Mohanan.

The Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 gears up for a riveting encounter between Kerala Blasters and Mohun Bagan Super Giant, set to take place on December 27th at the Salt Lake Stadium. In a pre-match press conference, Head Coach Ivan Vukomanovic and player Prabir Das addressed the media, shedding light on their recent triumphs, strategies, and the upcoming battle.

Victory Over Mumbai: A Steady Ascent

Coach Ivan Vukomanovic expressed his contentment with the team’s progress, emphasizing a long-term perspective, he expressed, “We’re progressing well despite setbacks—key injuries to Sitorio, Dohling, Jeakson, Lallawmawma, Luna. Our unity defines us; consistency and points matter in the long run. Goa’s strong, but 11 tough games lie ahead. More home games have been beneficial. Post-Super Cup, focus and motivation are key. We aim to revive our winning culture, staying positive with players like Prabir Das, rebuilding a playoff-contending spirit.”

When asked about the defensive strategy against Mumbai, Vukomanovic highlighted the importance of defensive stability, “We prioritized defensive stability against Mumbai due to their scoring prowess. Experience from players like Lešković is crucial, while younger talents like Milos are steadily adapting. Our strategy balanced defense and offense effectively.”

Motivation Despite MBSG’s Recent Losses

On Mohun Bagan Super Giants’ recent losses, Vukomanovic dismissed notions of lowered motivation, “Absolutely not. Wounded teams are the most dangerous. They’re formidable with quality players, a strong coach, and home advantage. We can’t underestimate them; it’ll be a tough, difficult game. We must be at our best.”

Expressing anticipation for the impending clash against Mohun Bagan, Coach Vukomanovic acknowledged the intensity of the rivalry, emphasizing both teams’ hunger for victory. He acknowledged the formidable nature of the defending champions while emphasizing the importance of the collective fight on the pitch.

On Diamantakos’ Goal-scoring Streak and Kwame Peprah

Regarding Dimitrios Diamantakos’ goal-scoring spree, Vukomanovic praised the striker’s hunger for goals, “He’s a striker with an insatiable hunger for goals, a coveted trait. His relentless drive to score, please fans, and aid the team exhilarates us as coaches. Having played at Europe’s top levels, he strives to prove himself among the best. We’re thrilled to have him and hope for his continued success.”

Addressing perceptions around players like Kwame Peprah, Vukomanovic stressed on the league’s challenges for foreign players, “Adapting to the ISL as a foreign player is tough. There’s a misconception for immediate excellence, but it takes time to adjust to a new country, team, style, and intensity. It’s a process for players like Dimi, Peprah, to integrate and improve gradually.”

Prabir Das on Playing Against Mohun Bagan

Switching to player perspectives, Prabir Das, a former Mohun Bagan player, maintained respect but shifted focus to the impending match, “Mohun Bagan is my past club, but now I focus on our team. They’re dangerous, and we have plans to counter them.” Addressing questions about pressure when facing consecutive matches against top teams, Prabir Das exuded confidence in the team’s abilities, emphasizing their focus and belief in each other’s strengths.

Expressing his satisfaction with Kerala Blasters, Das emphasized the team environment, “I’m happy here, enjoying the support from the crowd, coaching staff, and management.”

Super Cup Expectations, Signings and Injury Update

Looking ahead to the Super Cup starting in January, Coach Vukomanovic outlined plans to regroup after the Mohun Bagan match, stressing the importance of adequate preparation, despite concerns about training facilities. He emphasized the team’s determination to perform at their best in the upcoming tournament.

On the prospect of signings in the January Transfer window, Coach Vukomanovic hinted at possible additions, particularly in light of Adrian Luna’s recovery, affirming the club’s intent to strengthen the squad. An injury update on Vibin Mohanan highlighted his absence from the upcoming match due to a swollen ankle, “While nothing’s broken, Vibin won’t likely join us in Kolkata due to swelling. We’re monitoring his recovery,” he concluded.

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