Kerala Blasters FC coach Ivan Vukomanovic urges his players to remain fully concentrated as they face SC East Bengal in match 91 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 at Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco da Gama on Monday.

Kerala Blasters FC are fifth in the league table with 23 points in 14 matches. They have won three out of their last five matches and are level on points with Bengaluru FC at fourth position, having played a couple of matches less than them.

Kerala Blasters lost 3-0 to Jamshedpur FC in their last match. They conceded two quick goals in the last minutes of the first half. KBFC managed only two shots on target in the match.

Ahead of Kerala Blasters FC’s match against SC East Bengal, coach Vukomanovic and fullback Sanjeev Stalin addressed the media during the official pre-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from Vukomanovic’s press conference.

What was your advice to the team after the loss against Jamshedpur FC?

It’s never nice when you lose a game. We were talking about now that we are closer to the end of the season and many small details can make a difference. And a lot of these small things can make you win a game or lose the game. This was the case in the last game. We know we have to be fully concentrated for the next game and till the end. It doesn’t matter how we lost the last game now it matters how we respond.

The team was a bit off on intensity in the last game. Was it because of the intensity of the past games catching up or Covid-19 issues?

You know we could use it as an excuse but I am not the guy who wants to use those things. When you play against a team like Jamshedpur FC you know that there will be tough duels and a physical game. So, you have to be ready for that kind of fight. We conceded in the last minutes of the first half. You have to be ready for these moments during the game. It doesn’t have anything to do with our fitness levels.

With Leskovic and Khabra suspended and Hormipam injured you will have to field a different backline, so how do you think it will affect the team performance?

We have enough players in our squad. That’s why we have a large squad. Some other players will take their positions. They know the positions and their tasks. I am not worried. I am confident that the boys can do the job. I am glad that some of them will get a chance to prove to themselves. It’s very useful for them to participate in these kinds of games.

Here are the excerpts from Stalin’s press conference.

KBFC has a lot of senior players in your position so who’s more like a mentor to you?

Everybody is like a leader. For me Nishu (Kumar) paaji and (Harmanjot) Khabra paaji both are like leaders. I learn things from them. Even people who are of my age, like Jeakson Singh, are mentors to me. I learn many things from them which is very useful for me on the pitch and off it as well.

In the pre-season you have played in left-back, left-wing and right-back positions, so if the coach allowed you where would you like to play?

First of all as a player, I would love to play the ninety minutes. Of course every player wants to play games. It’s a good feeling whenever you get a chance to prove yourself and help the team with your abilities. If you’re winning it’s always a beautiful feeling no matter where you play. Whichever position the coach gives me a chance I would love to give my 100%.