The Englishman said his team are working to create more opportunities and score more goals…
Kerala Blasters FC will look to break into the top 4 for the first time in Hero Indian Super League 2016 when they take on Delhi Dynamos FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Friday. The Blasters are currently on a five-match unbeaten run that has seen them take nine points from a possible 15. A win on Friday in their second meeting of the season against the Lions will take them into the top 4 for the first time this season.
A victory against Gianluca Zambrotta’s Delhi though will be a tough feat considering the Dynamos have been the highest scorers so far this season. Kerala, on the contrary, are the lowest scorers in the league with four goals. Blasters head coach Steve Coppell issued a rallying cry to his strikers to make their presence felt in front of goal ahead of the Delhi clash. “Well I think any football team works on creating more and more goal scoring opportunities and I hate to say it but sometimes you get a spell when you don’t get the goals or the returns and yes we need to be more progressive in front of goal and we absolutely need to be more prolific in front of goal to be a factor in this league and we are working hard to prove it,” Coppell told the media on Thursday.
“There is no real formula for success and in the first season Kerala got to the final and just scored just nine goals in the league phase but I can assure you that we are not trying to emulate that and we are trying to score as many goals as possible and last year we scored more than twenty goals and finished bottom so it just shows there is a balance to maintain and we know we have to improve in front of goal to be a factor in this league.”
Coppell’s men had a slow start to the season with back-to-back 1-0 losses in their opening two matches against NorthEast United FC and Atlético de Kolkata. Elaborating on his side’s turnaround in fortunes and their ambitions for the rest of the campaign, Coppell said: “We have been working very hard and at this stage of the season all the teams will be thinking if you win two or three games, chances are you are there in the semis and that’s where everyone wants to be and in the first half people we were not so worried about losing but now there will be emphasis on winning to get into the semi-finals and I think there will be a tinge of emphasis as each game goes towards the end of the season and people will realise if we don’t win we will not make the semis and for us this will be our fourth away game straight and it’s been twenty days of travelling, and for us if we win it’s great and if we draw then it’s neutral and if we lose then that’s not good, so out of the remaining seven games if you win three I think you’re not going to be far away from the semi-finals.”
When asked if the semis expectation brings added pressure to him and his squad, Coppell responded: “No pressure whatsoever. At the end of the day it’s a game which everyone wants to win and we work very hard to win our games but it’s no pressure whatsoever. When you have pride and are proud of what you do and you want to do it to the best of your ability then that’s not the same as pressure.”
The 61-year-old Englishman also shared his thoughts on Delhi’s prevailing smog situation, which has worsened in the aftermath of Diwali. “When I looked at my window in the morning, it reminded of an autumn morning in England but in England the fog clears whereas here it stays. We train this afternoon and I think by then it should be better and I know it’s been a problem in Delhi and Delhi are working on it to make it better and I wish them success as I know it is not healthy for people to be breathing that kind of air and at the moment we just get on with it and focus on the game tomorrow,” said Coppell.
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