The Kerala Blasters interim head coach also opined that the Highlanders might feel some additional pressure because of the playoffs spot at stake.
On Friday, Kerala Blasters will play their final Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 game against NorthEast United at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco, Goa. At the penultimate spot in the standings, the Yellow Army are already out of the playoffs race. On the other hand, a win will help the Highlanders cement their spot in the top four and Ishfaq Ahmed believes that it will result in the opponents facing more pressure.
The Blasters’ interim head coach addressed the media in the pre-match press conference on Thursday, where he made the observations.
Thoughts on opponents
Ishfaq Ahmed said that Kerala Blasters are not thinking about NorthEast United, rather they are focused on their own issues. “Both teams want to win. It is true that they have additional pressure because of the playoffs, but we are also keen to end the season on a high,” he said. “We are not thinking about them, we will be thinking about us and what to do.”
“We have our own problems like injuries, so we will be looking to deal with those issues,” the tactician pinpointed.
With the Yellow Army having no other objective ahead in the ongoing campaign, Ishfaq Ahmed was asked if youngsters like Prabhsukhan Gill, Ayush Adhikari and Givson Singh will get a chance to play.
To this, he replied, “I haven’t decided yet as to who is starting, although some obvious choices will be made. But, that doesn’t mean the others will be sidelined. They (the youngsters) are very much a part of the team and maybe I’ll include them as well in the lineup.”
The 37-year-old refused to comment on the club’s plans for next season. “That is a question for the management. I haven’t thought about the signings and extensions,” he revealed.
Jessel Carneiro’s comments
Goan full-back Jessel Carneiro also attended the press conference alongside Ishfaq Ahmed. Speaking about him, the coach said that he has given him the creative freedom to get involved in the playmaking aspect of Kerala Blasters. “He is a ball-playing left full-back. He likes to get involved in playmaking. I have given him the full freedom to do so and that’s why he was in a more attacking position than usual in the game against Chennaiyin FC last week,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the 30-year-old admitted that the ongoing season has been hard for the team. But, he also promised that the players will continue working hard and giving their best.
“We have been working hard. Unfortunately, our season is ending here, but we will be continuing to give our best in the next season as well,” he signed off.