Happy with the improvement players have shown: Kerala Blasters’ Ivan Vukomanovic

Kerala Blasters head coach Ivan Vukomanovic was pleased with his team’s defensive organisation as they held Bengaluru FC to a 1-1 draw in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Athletic stadium in Bambolim, Goa on Sunday.

The match was a cagey affair for most parts until it sparked into life in the final ten minutes as Ashique Kuruniyan scored at both ends two minutes apart.

The Blasters have drawn their last two matches and will now look to convert one point into three when they face Odisha FC in their next match.

Coach Vukomanovic addressed the media after the match and here are the excerpts from his press conference.

How do you sum this match and your season so far?

The summary is that we have had to start the season against strong teams. We are in a phase where we were trying to develop a different style of play. High pressing, defensive block and all these things. Let's say that in all three matches we performed well. And the players showed high quality of commitment, high quality of pressing and defensive block and everything. So we are happy so far. We are really happy.

I think tonight was an interesting game. We know there is a rivalry between Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters FC so we wanted to be well organised, compact seeing also the fact that we played another game three days ago and our opponent had one day more to recover and that's also something you have to take care of especially when you are playing three games in nine days. We didn't want to throw these boys to sacrifice them, we wanted them to be organised and focussed because in these kind of games those things will help you become better, getting more self confidence and being better as a team. I'm glad that we showed tonight that we can form a really strong block and we can be unbeatable.

Do you think you were lucky with the own goal scored so late in the game?

I think both goals for both sides were lucky as well as unlucky. These kinds of things happen during the games so we just have to stay positive and build up further on because we know the first three games we are playing against strong teams especially the ones who performed very well in the last season.

Despite the result, what's your take on your team's work on the ball? You said that you want to play attacking football. Did you see that tonight?

Sometimes when a coach or manager says something in the media you don't have to believe everything. That's how the media works. Sometimes, like I said, we want to perform with this team. Of course we want to play high-risk, attacking football but also play defensive with a low block. This way you can be unpredictable for your opponents and that gives more self confidence to the team. The last two matches gave a lot of self confidence to our defensive block because we can show that even against strong teams we can be a strong unit and not allow them to shoot on our goal. But we still have a lot of hard work in front of us and we will continue to do it.

Is the team short of creativity apart from Adrian Luna?

We are happy with the improvement of all the players. Since we started in August there is a huge improvement in every possible aspect. Luna is a guy who has a certain quality to let other players be better and play better. So, we are happy to have all of them and like I said in a previous interview. I'm very happy and confident with all the boys. The foreigners are bringing something that we need, they have the creativity, they have the quality and in the future they will be better and better.

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