Kerala boost playoffs hopes after edging out Pune…

Kerala Blasters FC registered a 2-1 win against FC Pune City in their 2016 Hero Indian Super League encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Friday evening. With the win, they moved up to third in the table with 18 points from 12 games and appeared to be on course for the semi-finals. Speaking to the media after the match, head coach Steve Coppell was pleased as punch and hailed his team unequivocally.

“We created chances and as long as we created chances any coach will tell you that you have got to be reasonably happy and we also had a few narrow escapes at our end but we are delighted to have won the game, and playing against Pune as they have had some great results away from home and they are difficult to play against, overall, I think we did well and we deserved the victory,” Coppell said.

Coppell’s men came into the match after a 5-0 thumping by Mumbai City FC a few days ago and the 61-year-old was happy with the way his team responded under pressure but insisted there was no scope for complacency. “For the morale it is very good after the game against Mumbai to get back on the winning trail and how significant this game will be in the long run we will find out a week on from Sunday because then the season will be over, and there is still a lot of work to be done as we will not expect people to do favours on us,” the Englishman said.

“In this league, it has been so surprising with results and the teams doing things on a nightly basis what you don’t expect and we have two more games to come and we will try to get as many points as we can and if it takes us to the semis, then that is great and if not then everyone here in Kerala will agree that this squad of players have done their best.”

Four out of five wins for Kerala this season have come at home and Coppell acknowledged the importance of home fans, who have consistently thronged the stadium in thousands. “I am also thinking wow this is really special with so many people watching and sometimes when you have a large number of people watching, it can be intimidating for the players. You know we go to other games and they have four-five thousand people, whereas we have fifty thousand people so sometimes that puts pressure on the players and I am not saying that we are very comfortable and have got used to it but we are certainly more comfortable now with the mentality to repay these supporters and send them home happy as we are grateful to their support,” he said.

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