News Article

Meulensteen wary of Jamshedpur FC challenge; Coppell delighted to be back in Kochi

Written by: P.S. Parameswaran

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Both coaches glad to get the opening game out of their way.

Kerala Blasters head coach Rene Meulensteen believes Indian Super League newbies Jamshedpur FC will pose a tough challenge for his team tomorrow. The Tiri-led side, like Kerala Blasters, had to settle for a point after 0-0 draw against NorthEast United in their opening game.

“It will be a difficult match for sure. Knowing Steve (Coppell), he will have the team very well organised, hardworking and difficult to break down. In terms of style of play, I expect them to be direct so we have to be very alert. We have to produce a high level of energy and more than anything a high level of quality,” said Meulensteen.  

Blasters boss refused to reveal where he will deploy star man Dimitar Berbatov and was coy when asked if Wes Brown has recovered from his calf problem.

“We need to maximise the qualities that we have in front of us and we look at the opposition; the areas where we can hurt them. I have got players that have the ability to play in various positions which helps us to rotate a little bit in the frontline and that can create a little bit of unpredictability.”

Iain Hume, who accompanied Meulensteen at the pre-match press conference was asked about the differences in Kerala Blasters' last season’s and current squad. “The whole width of the country,” he said. “You can’t compare, it’s the same with all the teams in the league. How many teams apart from Bengaluru FC have the mainstay of their team together?” asked the 34-year-old.     

Meulensteen also added that he was impressed with winger Prasanth K after the youngster’s cameo appearance against ATK.


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We will go for victory, says Coppell

If things don’t pan out well for Jamshedpur, Steve Coppell won’t use travelling as an excuse. The new ISL entrants will be playing their second away game when they face Blasters in Kochi on Friday.

“I am glad to be here and the reception I have received so far is lovely. It’s nice to be remembered but you know this is a new season. Now, I am here to do a job for somebody else and that’s the way of football,” Coppell asserted.

The 62-year-old hopes to claim the club’s first ever victory in the league and is aware of the challenge on hand. “We are looking to go for the win. The home team have got some internationally respected players. It will be a very very difficult game, but we’ll do our best and hope for a good result.”

Coppell, who guided Blasters to the final last season, believes the ISL is a very demanding league. “There are so many variables in the ISL. You got to have a mentality which is very robust and capable of adjusting to so many different circumstances – temperature, travelling, food. It’s such a big challenge,” he explained. 

The former Manchester United winger said he is happy with the balance of the squad and believes his opposite number has a team that can make a big impact this season.

 

Published: Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:13 PM IST

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