The defeat marked the home side’s fourth one this season.

FC Pune City got the better of Kerala Blasters in a game contested between two struggling sides, as Marcelinho’s first goal made the difference for the visitors.

After the match, Kerala Blasters’ David James and Pune City’s Pradyum Reddy talked to the media and shared their thoughts. 

Watch: Kerala Blasters 0-1 Pune  City highlights

Sandesh Jhingan played as a right-back for Kerala Blasters and the Pune coach (Pradyum Reddy) was asked whether he had expected it. He said  “We did homework. We have seen the way Kerala have played in recent games. We wanted to exploit the fact that Sandesh Jhingan played as a right-back. We wanted to exploit the gap.”

Ahead of this match, Reddy had said that he wanted to finish this season on a high note. When asked if he will be aiming to get into the playoffs, the coach said that the plan was always to win games. “You need to try to win the game. That’s the plan. If you win, it helps you go up the table. Mathematically, it is still possible for us to get into the playoffs.”

Iain Hume played all 90 minutes for the visitors and the coach revealed that the player wanted to play in front of what was once his home. He said, “Absolutely. We have all seen what Hume has done in the past seasons. It is not just what he does on the field. His presence. His experience in the dressing room. He was not ready to play. The desire he has, he wanted to play in front of these fans.”

The coach also heaped praise on Ashique Karuniyan who impressed everyone, giving Jhingan a tough time. “If you look at Ashique’s progress this season, there is a reason he is breaking into the national team. He can do the attacking side and the defensive side. If he wants to play at the higher levels, he will have to do that. He was fantastic today and deserves all the praise he is getting.”

He was also asked if would like to continue in this job and what the authorities must do to make that possible. He said, “It is not up to me, I don’t make the rules. I want to continue the job, the best job in the world, coaching a football team. You obviously want to continue on what you have done. Most coaches have opportunities to have players in the pre-season.  Now, we will have the opportunity in the winter break.”


David James was frustrated with the result and said that the team performed without coordination in the first half. “Scoring was obviously a problem. Second half was much better. They did really well. We could have taken the advantage. The first half what we lacked was the support of players on the ball. It looked like 11 players not playing as a team.”  

James had the option to bring on Matej Poplatnik when Kerala desperately needed an equaliser, but instead brought Suraj Rawat into the action. When asked about that the coach said, “When he [Suraj Rawat] came on, he had a very positive impact. He was a positive impact on the game. He can do that. It was a better second half. Forty-five minutes of football cost us the match today.” 

This defeat comes as a blow for Blasters’ hopes of making it into the playoffs. When asked about this the coach said, “This is a wonderful season. Yes, we haven’t won 10 games. The plan was to be in a better position, contesting to get in a place for the playoffs. Still, mathematically, we have a chance.”

“Difficult to say, I was pleased with Indian football and the ISL having breaks for International games. We had two players coming back from the (international) game. Delhi game probably cost us an equaliser. We had players struggling in the NorthEast game,” said James when asked his opinion on the international breaks.

James will be forced to make a change in the upcoming January transfer window and when he was asked about that, the former Liverpool shot-stopper said players would take time to adapt to the situations in India. He said, “Recruiting policy is not a problem. The adaptation of players to India, You could sign players from the abroad and the environment can be tough than they expect.”