The Kerala Blasters manager spoke ahead of a crucial game against Delhi Dynamos…

Kerala Blasters FC head coach Steve Coppell has urged his players to put in a much-improved performance when they take on Delhi Dynamos FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Sunday.

Kerala are going into the match on the back of successive defeats against NorthEast United FC and Atlético de Kolkata, while their rivals for Sunday’s encounter are high on confidence having brushed aside defending champions Chennaiyin FC in their opening game. Coppell, speaking to the media on Saturday, said it was high time his team improved and registered their first win of the season.

“We have to improve in all departments, though I feel defensively we are good, the last one [vs ATK] was a heavily deflected goal. Midfield also got a little bit detached at times. Our forwards need to start scoring. We know where we need to improve and we are working on it, each and every player is working individually and as a team. As all the other coaches say, we will look to attack together and defend together,” the Englishman said.

One of the main reasons behind Kerala’s defeats has been star striker Antonio German’s lack of form, and Coppell hoped the former Queens Park Rangers striker, who scored six goals and provided three assists in Hero ISL 2015, would soon open his scoring account. “He is a player who knows he is capable of playing in multiple positions. He is flexible and powerful. He would be looking to produce that match-winning ingredient, he is very demanding of himself and I’m sure he will be opening his account very soon,” the 61-year-old said.

Coppell also hoped that seasoned player Michael Chopra, who didn’t start in either of Kerala’s defeats and played a total of 52 minutes, will soon be in the thick of things. “He is a very versatile player, he can play both as a forward and as a midfielder. He has played hundreds of games and is very experienced. Recently he has been injured, the last time he played full 90 minutes was in the last calendar year. He came to India a month earlier to train and get fit. He has been working very hard on it. He is a valuable player and he has got a significant role in the squad as the season develops,” he said.

The former Reading gaffer also didn’t rule out the possibility of some changes to his team on Sunday. “I don’t think there will be significant changes but there will be changes. This league is demanding and hence you have to evaluate the team and plan. So, yes there’ll be a few changes, I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s match.”

Commenting on the fitness status of his team, Coppell said: “Prasanth [Karuthadathkuni] is out because of an ankle injury. Apart from that everyone else in available.”

Report and Photo Courtesy: ISL Media