Have to prepare our best against every opponent: Kerala Blasters FC’s Ivan Vukomanovic

Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic believes his team must strike the right chord between defence and attack to get past Odisha FC in their fourth game of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season on Sunday at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco da Gama, Goa.

The 44-year-old admired Odisha FC’s quality of play and lauded their calibre of national team players in the squad. However, Vukomanovic urged his team to convert their chances to get the three points while also laying emphasis on his team’s lack of quick decision making in the final third.

Ahead of his side’s clash against Odisha FC, the Kerala Blasters FC head coach addressed the media during a pre-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from the coach’s press conference:

Is Kerala Blasters FC still finding the balance between attack and defence? 

It’s an interesting thing in football when you play attacking football, it opens some possibilities for the opponent and you may concede some goals then everybody starts speaking on how poor the defence is. When you play a good defensive game and still create chances, everybody says there are no goals, but this is what football is all about.

We have to find the right balance, we have to convert our chances and not concede any goals. We as a team want to work harder on many things to become better and to be the team to get their desired results.

Odisha FC have been scoring a lot of goals from set-pieces, is there any specific preparation to counter this threat?

Of course there is a preparation in place, not only set-pieces but every other aspect. We played against Odisha in the pre-season friendlies, we know they have some qualities. As a team, you have to be prepared to face those set-pieces, so it is not only that we’re going to do but it is one of the aspects we’re preparing for. Every game, we have to prepare our best against any opponent.

Is the lack of creativity in midfield killing the tempo of the game you’re building at Kerala Blasters FC?

No, not really. In our first game against ATK Mohun Bagan, we were playing offensive football, we created chances, scored two goals yet conceded four goals.

We dominated the game against NorthEast, I firmly believe we should have won that game because we were better on the pitch, we had the chances to kill the game and get those three points. It didn’t happen because we were not precise enough with the finishing.

You also have to factor in the fatigue level into the play, we played three games in nine days and have one less day to recover than our opponents. In the last game, we had moments where we needed to exploit the spaces in between. We were missing the last pass, quality finishing, and the decision making when it came to finishing. 

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