Happy with the defensive performance: Ivan Vukomanovic on positives from the draw against NorthEast United FC

Northeast United FC and Kerala Blasters FC contested a cagey encounter in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL), with neither side being able to break the deadlock after 90 minutes, drawing 0-0. Several key chances were squandered over the course of the game, especially by the Blasters.

Jorge Pereyra Diaz was presented with a golden opportunity due to a defensive error by the Highlanders in the first half, but his shot missed the target. Vincy Barretto set up Sahal Abdul Samad in the 52nd minute, after a brilliant penetrating run, but Samad couldn't slot the ball into the net.

Alvaro Vasquez caused the Northeast United defence some issues when he came on in the 72nd minute, but he couldn't beat Subashish Roy Choudhary in goal.

Kerala Blasters’ head coach Ivan Vukomanovic shared his views on the game in the official post-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from the press conference:

Were you happy with the team's approach towards the set pieces tonight?

Yes, let's say that we were more concentrated and we were more focused especially if we speak about defensive set pieces. I think that we were present. We were compact. We were good. And actually, I was happy with the performance of the defensive block, defensive line because we knew that this is a game we should be dominant which occurred and also the chances we had but if you speak about defensive set pieces, seeing the facts and statistics from last seasons that many goals in ISL happen after set pieces, of course, tonight we are very happy to not concede goals.

Do you think that the players have rectified the mistakes from the first game, do you think offensively there were some mistakes that have been rectified from the last game?

We have to be honest on any level, any professional level all around the world, you take any other highest level, there will be mistakes. During the game, during the technical movements or technical performances on the pitch. Even today, we had a couple of them which we're not supposed to allow but anyway these kinds of things, especially for the young boys, are the moments where they actually learn what is a mistake and later on not to repeat. So they have to go through that process, they have to do it. We just try working hard to avoid those things and to improve and not to repeat them. So actually again I'm happy with all of them. Tonight, I'm fully confident in these boys they're all good boys and they're working so hard every day and we'll continue building up, we have our objectives and I'm very happy with them.

Do you think bringing two foreign defenders made the defence more compact and gave the team better stability tonight?

Yes, I think the first time since we started, even all pre-season, these two central defenders Leskovic and Sipovic have played together for 90 minutes. So these kind of things make me happy. These kind of things can bring stability to all the team because you can build up further on those positive things. And when you have defensive stability, when you have a defensive block, which is strong, who is not allowing many things to offensive opponent players. So these things can bring you at least one point like the case was tonight. We had good chances upfront that we should've scored in the first and the second half but anyway these players like I said, work hard and they wanted to score, so I cannot say anything.

Your team had a few solid chances today but Kerala Blasters FC over the past few years have missed these chances, and there was a glimpse of that today, will that be a regular occurrence or will the team work on it?

I want to say to all Kerala fans, to all the people that love Kerala Blasters, I'm the coach that loves attacking football, I love to attack. So I like to create offensive situations and offensive chances, and I want to see those boys getting into those situations and scoring goals. I think even tonight those players who missed the chances have the quality because I want to see them score more. If you speak about Sahal or any other player, I want to see them scoring more goals during one season, that's our objective, because we want to see these boys improving and I want to see them get better, they are an important part of Kerala Blasters and I want them to become an important part of the national team and this is what we will continue to do. I like to play offensive football. That’s it..

You handed Vincy Barretto a debut tonight, will we see more of him in the future games?

Of course, all of them, because all of them young lads are all good players, all good boys. Vincy is one of the many who has a huge progression march and this boy has to work very hard to improve, even more. He's very quick, he's very difficult to defend if he is in a good moment, so actually tonight the defence of our opponent had trouble with him. He is the guy who has to work very hard to improve, but he has quality. We are very happy with him and all the other boys, we are very confident with all of them.

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