The Kerala Blasters assistant coach admitted that they missed the services of Rahul KP and Jeakson Singh

It was a disappointing night for Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League (ISL), as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Jamshedpur FC. Due to the absence of head coach Kibu Vicuna who was suspended, it was his assistant Ishfaq Ahmed who managed the Yellow Army from the sidelines. The team created plenty of chances and attempted a total of 18 shots, but none of them found the back of the net.

After the final whistle, Ahmed spoke to the media and shared his thoughts on the stalemate. He was not keen to blame his team’s luck for the goalless result, as he said that the Kochi outfit did have a few chances which they should have converted.

“It may feel like we did not carry our luck. But, I think we created plenty of chances and we don’t have to blame anyone. Luck sometimes plays a part, but we had also some not-so-difficult chances which should’ve been converted. I feel we should’ve gotten all the three points,” he admitted.

Frustration of result

“Well, while on the touchline it is really, really frustrating to see your team do very well and everything going as per plan, but then failing to score after creating good chances,” Ahmed said when asked about the frustration of the result.

He further added, “But, you can’t do much, apart from continuing to encourage them and hoping they will score. Not blaming them though, it was just not our day. These are the same players who won matches for us.”

Trying to score from half-chances

WATCH: ISL 2020-21 | Ishfaq Ahmed Post-Match Press Conference | Kerala Blasters Vs Jamshedpur FC

While Kerala Blasters had plenty of good chances in the first half, their approach changed in the second, with the forwards trying to send every ball into Jamshedpur’s goal. The likes of Jordan Murray, Gary Hooper, Puitea and so on attempted to score from many half-chances, but the score remained 0-0. “Half-chances are also chances, we needed to make the best out of every chance,” the tactician reasoned. “If they could have converted any of them I would have been happy.

“But, that did not happen, although we dominated them throughout the game. We will definitely go back and work on it before the next game,” he promised.

Sahal Abdul Samad’s development

Ishfaq Ahmed was also asked if he thought Sahal Abdul Samad was inconsistent. He replied saying that he did not think so. “I don’t think Sahal is inconsistent. He has been regular and we feel he has been doing a fantastic job. He is not only making some good moves in attack, but he has also been fabulous in defence,” the 37-year-old explained.

“The head coach and I are very happy that he improved the defensive aspect of his game by tracking back. If you remember, there was a very crucial point in the match when he headed the ball out after our goalkeeper (Albino Gomes) missed the ball from a set-piece. It was brilliant.”

Absence of Rahul KP & Jeakson Singh

Rahul KP and Jeakson Singh were unavailable for the fixture because of suspension. Both had been yellow-carded four times thus far this season, which amounted to a one-match ban. After the game, Ahmed admitted that the team missed the duo.

“They are good players. We definitely missed them. They have always scored goals and given us the advantage, especially in late moments of matches,” he said.

Five-match unbeaten run

The two-time ISL finalists are now on a five-game unbeaten run in the league and Ishfaq Ahmed concluded the interaction by speaking on the confidence of the team.

“In a bio-bubble, not losing matches can help a great deal in survival. We have been working really well, especially during our training. For instance, we conceded too many goals from silly mistakes in the first half of the league stage. Ahead of the second, care has been taken to not repeat those errors. I don’t think Jamshedpur got many easy chances. All credit for the good work goes to the boys and the staff,” he signed off.