The former Manchester United coach also revealed his lack of knowledge about Kerala Blasters.

Kerala Blasters host Melbourne City in the opening game of the Toyota Yaris La Liga World pre-season tournament, to be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Tuesday. The event is the first of its kind international extravaganza to be organized in India. Ahead of the big clash, the visitors’ manager Warren Joyce met members of the media at a pre-match press conference in the city earlier today.

He’s a charmer. Joyce is one of the best football minds currently working in the Australian league. A former Manchester United player and Reserve team manager, he came to the press conference ready to face easy and difficult questions alike.

The interaction started with Joyce being asked about his time in India, precisely three days. The man looked content, though. “Good, friendly people, with great facilities. The team has trained well in the last two days and we’re looking forward to the games. The climate has been a little tough, and its a test, but so far so good.”

Warren Joyce speaking before the first match

“Chelsea are currently playing Perth Glory in Australia, while you’re here facing Girona FC and the practically unknown Kerala Blasters? What do you expect out of this tournament?” a journalist asked. Without breaking a sweat, the former Wigan Athletic manager said, “I think teams from all around the world try to help their players get back to full fitness in pre-season. They want the new players to settle in, gel well and experiment with new formations and ideas. We’ve got Girona and Kerala and we’re expecting two good football games here. We’re expecting a lot from (Daniel) Arzani in the A-league.”

Joyce spoke highly about Arzani. The talented lad has already played for the national team and Melbourne City as well. The tactician expects Arzani to make it to the senior team more regularly and make his mark. He also said that he expects Arzani to become the next big thing in Australian football.


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Talking about the Blasters, Joyce showed his honest side. “Well, I don’t know much about them. I have watched them play on TV, but they’ve lost a few big names from last season (with a smile) and the new players are interesting. There are obviously one or two good players that evolved last year and we’re looking forward to our match tomorrow (on Tuesday).”

Both the Blasters and Melbourne are pretty early into their respective pre-seasons and Joyce did not deny the fact. In fact, he dwelled on the positives. “I think it’s early for both teams and thus, we’ll like to try out new combinations, young players. It’s always a good opportunity to play so early in the season and it looks like a level playing field for both sides. The four new faces will certainly be happy with some game time.”

Coming from the Red of Manchester to the Blue of Manchester (Melbourne City are owned by the City Group, co-owners of Manchester City), how does it feel?

“Well, both are massive clubs with great ambitions. Great academies, superb infrastructure. There’s not a lot of difference in the teams and the setups.”

When coaxed to find a difference, Joyce finally gave in, “Well, in the current scenario, one side is good at winning trophies, while the other is playing attractive football.”