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Kibu Vicuna: Hakku and Sandeep proved what they're capable of

Published at :December 28, 2020 at 4:56 AM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : ISL Media)

Harigovind Thoyakkat

The Spanish coach was elated after registering his first-ever win with the Yellow Army.

Kerala Blasters were handed a major boost on Sunday as they defeated Hyderabad FC to register their first victory of the season in the Indian Super League (ISL). Goals from Abdul Hakku and Jordan Murray helped the Kochi-outfit win, as the Nizams succumbed to a second straight loss this season. After the game, Blasters head coach Kibu Vicuna lauded his team's efforts while speaking in the post-match press conference.

On Performance Against Hyderabad FC

"Highly satisfied because I think we played very well, that too against a very good club. Hyderabad FC have been brilliant this season," Kibu Vicuna began.

"We deserved the win. I am very happy because in the past two-three weeks we had been training harder than earlier and we are now seeing the results of our work," he added.
Watch: Kibu Vicuna's post-match press conference

Absence Of Costa Nhamoinesu, Bakary Kone and Gary Hooper

Before the match began, Khel Now had understood that defenders Costa Nhamoinesu and Bakary Kone along with striker Gary Hooper were ruled out of the squad due to injuries. After the game, Kibu Vicuna confirmed the news as he revealed, "They have various injuries. They were unable to play tonight and hence were unavailable for selection."

"Meanwhile, I think the players who replaced them did a fantastic job. I am very happy with the performances of Sandeep (Singh), (Abdul) Hakku and Jordan (Murray). Hakku and Sandeep are a part of the team and they train with the rest of the players every day. It’s just that their chances finally arrived today and they proved what they are capable of. I am happy with both of them and their professionalism, for they took good advantage of their chances tonight," he further added.

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At the same time, Murray seems to have cemented his place in the starting XI after the win over Hyderabad FC. "I am happy with Jordan’s performance. We are expecting a similar level of performance from Gary also. But in general, I am happy with how both of them have played so far," the tactician commented.

On Sahal Abdul Samad and Jeakson Singh

Kibu Vicuna had a few good things to say about young midfielders Sahal Abdul Samad and Jeakson Singh.

"Sahal is a very fantastic player and he is also an important member of the squad. He can play on the inside and also as a wide player," he began.

"When he is playing wide, he shows the ability to cut inside when needed. This is his second game on the trot as a wide player and he will improve with each day," the 48-year-old continued.

"Jeakson, I think is a player with a lot of potential. He has a lot of good qualities, the most important among them being the fact that he wants to improve."

"He keeps wanting to be a better player and you can help players of this kind at any time. Tonight, he played fantastically and I am very happy about that," he further added.

On Instructions Given At Half-time

The victory over Hyderabad FC was only the second game in the 2020-21 season when Kerala Blasters had a lead going into the half-time break. Against NorthEast United earlier last month, they conceded twice in the second half and dropped points. According to Kibu Vicuna, it led him to plan an attacking approach and score another goal on Sunday evening.


"Normally we press high. But Hyderabad are a team who play well from behind so we needed to press more and played with a lower backline. We had a goal's lead at the end of the first half. During half-time, of course there were some tactical talks related to substitutions and our opponents, but the final instruction given to the team was to score the second goal," he revealed.

"Hyderabad had very good attackers like Aridane (Santana) and we knew that scoring in the second half would help us win. That’s why we made more chances through Murray in the second half. Finally, he also scored the goal that helped us win and that feels good," the Spaniard concluded.

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