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Kerala Blasters are capable of beating anyone in this league- Steve Coppell


The Englishman was upbeat after his side's victory against Mumbai.

Kerala Blasters’ veteran English manager Steve Coppell met the awaiting press before his side’s game against FC Pune City on Monday evening. Kerala come into this game in 6th position, having scored only one goal in the season so far.

Along with him was marquee Aaron Hughes, who was asked about the history of the fixture (3 wins out of 4 for Kerala), “I don't think it matters that much. It's a different season, different players, different night. We approach this game (knowing) it's an away game, a tough game, it's one where we're going to have to continue to do what we did the other night, that was to play to our strengths, use the things we tried to work on in training. If we get that right we give ourselves a good chance of winning the game.”

The Northern Irishman continued, “Things like what happened last year or the year before aren't going to affect what happens on the pitch tomorrow night.”

The manager was then questioned on the fatigue of the players. He responded, “I personally don't think so. Teams around Europe will play on a Wednesday night and then they play Saturday afternoon. So as such, we have more time to recover than those occasions so personally I don't think it will be a problem. But time will tell, obviously it's more demanding physically here but I think the players now are so fit and well-conditioned and we like to think we work hard on our conditioning that we'll be able to cope with it.”

Kerala, of course are on the back of their first victory in four this season, against Mumbai on Friday. But, continuous travelling has meant the team has not had a chance to relax or enjoy the victory. “You know you can't dwell on results too much. But it definitely gives everyone belief. We will know that we are now capable of winning. We played a good team and beat them. We are capable of beating anyone in this league.”

The gaffer has selected a different XI every game and he suggested the trend could continue. “I don't think it'll (the starting XI) ever be settled because when games are so close together you are bound to have injuries and when you have 25 players why play with a player whose 70%. I'd much rather have a player who can give everything to the team.

Talking about players who are giving their everything for the team, Michael Chopra’s celebrations after scoring his first goal in the ISL showcased what it means to him. Talking about his fellow Englishman, Coppell remarked, “The first year he was here he didn't score. He wasn't at his best physically when he came here that year.”

He continued, “In my time with him, he's been determined to get himself as fit as he can and he's worked incredibly hard to get a return the other night. I think he's capable of playing 90 minutes and I think he's capable of doing that”

Coppell has now spent over a fortnight in India and discussing the league, he believed that it’s difficult to assess (so early), but did admit it was a very demanding league. He gave reasons for his belief, “A lot of the teams are similar and when teams are very similar in terms of ability, then usually a piece of inspiration, a mistake or a refereeing decision makes a difference, I think every team has players capable of individual brilliance. As has been seen the referees are capable of making a few mistakes as well, so it's a close league and so the team with the strongest will and resilience will win.”

But, the manager’s immediate focus will be the next game, a crucial away game against Pune. He expects all his players to be available for the game. “We have a couple of players who aren't a 100% but it shouldn't affect their selection.”

Photo © ISL Media

Preview by Khel Now- correspondent Miqdad. Miqdad is a Liberal Arts student from Pune. A Liverpool fan he's probably busy watching a sport or writing. You can follow him on Twitter.

Published: Mon Oct 17, 2016 01:08 AM IST


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