The Kerala Blasters TACTICIAN shared his thoughts on the next opponents and highlighted his expectations in the second game.

KBFC started with a winning note against East Bengal FC in the opening match of the ninth edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) on 7th October at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi. A day before the second encounter, KBFC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic and defender Harmanjot Singh Khabra addressed the media in their pre-match press conference

Harmanjot Singh Khabra’s expectations on clash against ATK Mohun Bagan

The defender said that the expectations of his side are just the same as the first match. He believes that ATKMB is a good team and they will be more careful this time. 

“Same like the first match against East Bengal. The most important thing is you have just won the opening match at home. It’s way difficult to perform the same. The mentality has to be there and the attitude has to be right. We need to be more careful. They are a good team. They are strong players so we have to come with the right mentality as we have started from the last game.”

Coach about sending Ivan Kaliuzhnyi as super-sub in first match

Ivan Vukomanovic said that the team won their first match not just because of Ivan kaliuzhnyi. He added that the team has already decided that the Ukrainian will start from the bench and the team is happy with his performance in the last match.

“It’s not about him. Many foreign players think that it can be easy playing in ISL. Ivan kaliuzhnyi has just arrived. We want to take it step by step. Adapting him to a new environment. In the first game we decided he will be starting from the bench. He has great qualities to turn up the game. So we were happy to have him on the pitch. He showed immediately the quality he possessed and we are happy with his performance.”

Coach on adding Ivan Kaliuzhnyi in playing XI

He said that don’t think everybody is ready to participate in the game. According to the coach, the team will decide who all will play tomorrow after today’s training session. 

“I don’t see anybody 100 percent starting 11 players or super subs. Today we have a training session in the afternoon to see many different things. So for tomorrow, we will see to fix something nice.”

Khabra on facing ex-teammate Ashique Kuruniyan

The centre-back said that it is about the team not the players. He added that he will focus only to create chances on winning the game.

“I think we don’t need to make things more complicated. It is a game against ATK Mohun Bagan. As a player, these kind of things are not important. Most important thing is you have to do the job for your team. Hopefully I’ll keep doing that.”

Coach on differences in facing ATKMB and East Bengal

According to Ivan Vukomanovic, there are plenty of differences in the upcoming match. He feels that his boys will try to do their best against one of the best teams in ISL. 

There are many differences. We are playing at home again and we are playing against one of the best players in the league. We will try to do something good tomorrow.”

Coach about other foreign players

Ivan Vukomanovic said that he is happy with every player in the team. It will take time for all the players, both domestic and foreign players, to adapt to the new atmosphere since they all are playing at the home stadium for the first time. He is confident that the foreign players will show why they joined the club. 

“They are fit. They have to adapt to the atmosphere first. Step by step they fit into the big puzzle. It was not easy for anybody in the first game. They touch the ground for the first time. Not only foreign players but also the domestic players. We are happy with the new foreign players. They will take it step by step and they will show why they are here.”

Coach about injury concerns

There are no injury concerns so far. He said that young player Ayush Adhikari had some kind of slight discomfort but he is fine after scanning. However, he will not be available for the ATKMB clash.

“Everybody is available. Ayush had a slight discomfort a couple of days ago. But after scanning there is nothing serious. He may miss tomorrow’s game but there are no serious injuries so far.”

Coach about the next opponents

He said that ATKMB is one such team that starts their campaign aiming to win the league title. According to him, the Mariners are a strong team and it doesn’t matter that they lost a game. He added that his side is totally aware about whom they are about to play. 

“Last season there were many teams who started on an excellent note. They’ve been praised all around yet they didn’t end up in the playoffs. We were the team who did not not start on a good note. We achieved our first victory in the fourth game against Odisha FC yet we arrived at the finals. So, these first couple of games wont give you any guarantee that you will have a nice season. It doesn’t matter that they lost the first match. They are still good players. Good coach. They have the quality to beat anybody they want. They know why they are coming tomorrow. We have to be aware.”

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