Newly appointed Kerala Blasters manager eyes playoff spot.
Kerala have traditionally been late bloomers in the league and have even managed to make it to the playoffs even with a negative goal difference in the past. This season has been no different for the team in Yellow. Only a single win in eight matches means they lie down at eighth position in the league. To add insult to their injury, they have a new coach in David James coming in replacing the sacked Mulesteen. But the former English international keeper is no alien to the league and has come back bringing lots of positivity in the squad.
David James has witnessed his side climb up the ladder after starting on the wrong note. He is hopeful that it will happen this time too for his team. “I’m a fan of the Kerala Blasters, most of you must be aware of that. I see the squad’s quality as a fan. So, yeah, I think we have a terrific squad and I think we can definitely get into the playoffs,” David James said in the pre-match press conference in Delhi.
All the talk of optimism would mean nothing if James couldn’t produce a turnaround this time again. The pressure is high on the Englishman as he was appointed in no time. David James has a heap-lot of problems to solve in very short time, knowing his team is the problem piled at the top of the heap. He said, “I just watched (the games) as a fan and see if we can get good results. and I’d be disappointed if we don’t get good results. So, to come in now in a coaching position, as you said with a, quite literally, 48-hour turnaround, I’ve got to understand and get to know the players as quickly as possible.”
He also added, “It’s kind of tough to come in suddenly, and thinking we’re gonna work on something. We’d just got very few hours to work on things, understand the strengths and weaknesses of the players and develop that. All of this would be a longterm plan. But I’m confident and the players are confident, which is a great thing for me as a coach,”
Blasters were believed to have problems in the midfield and hence they signed Kizito Keziron. New Signing Kizito has impressed everyone including David James with his performance and has brought more life in Blaster Midfield. David James is happy with the Blasters’ recruitment process and was all praises for the one involved in it including the assistant coach Thangboi Shinto.
He said, “Put him (Kizito) on the pitch and he does what he does best. And the recruitment this season has been great and has some great players which are a great thing for as a coach and for Thangboi Shinto and it’s refreshing to see such young talent but he isn’t the only player that we’ve got. We’re gonna have to work with him and work with other players and prove that we’ve not got one player in the team that doesn’t want to improve and I think, yeah, they all want to improve.”
Former Kerala Blasters marquee player is highly impressed with the new structure of the Hero Indian Super League. The added mid-season transfer window gives the league a bit of flair of European leagues. David James is quite happy about it as he believes that it gives the teams to replace injured ones and also bring in people for positions that have been left wanting.
The Englishman opinionated, “Can’t you see, this is the best thing to happen to the ISL, the transfer windows. As Delhi has proved by bringing in Xabi Irureta, not saying that he was or is better or worse than the previous goalkeepers Delhi has had, with all the injuries and stuff like that. But there was always a bit of a conundrum on who will start because of the size of the squad in the first place, but now there’s an opportunity to change the squad up again. ISL has become what I would say what domestic leagues around the world are like.”
Although David James has liked the way the transfer windows have been brought into action and the way the teams have used it, he sounds adamant about sticking with what he has got. David believes signing any player now will be throwing the money down the drain and he also believes that his side has what it takes to get into the playoffs.
He explained, “Since I’ve been working with the players, for about two training sessions, I’m not in the position to take people in, I’m not interested in bringing people in because another belief I have is that a head coach can make what you have already better rather than bringing in new players because theoretically, anyone can bring in players. For me to be what I can be with my coaching style, for me to get what I can get out of my players will be done without getting new people.”