In Hero ISL, any team can beat anybody: Kerala Blasters FC's Ivan Vukomanovic

Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic expressed that the team is expecting a competitive game against Jamshedpur FC when the two sides meet in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur on Sunday.

Vukomanovic’s men are aiming for their fourth consecutive victory when they take on Jamshedpur FC, who are languishing in the tenth spot on the points table and have lost the last four matches. 

The common thread between the two teams has been the overwhelming support of the fans as the sides have enjoyed packed stadiums at their respective home grounds. The Serbian mentioned how welcoming fans back in the stadium after a gap of two years has helped his team by providing extra motivation to the players.

Vukomanovic expects his opponents to eventually make the most of their fan support and turn the tide just how the Kerala Blasters FC did when they beat FC Goa on home soil before gaining momentum to beat Hyderabad FC away from home.

The 45-year-old was accompanied by the defender Nishu Kumar in the official pre-match press conference. 

Here are the excerpts from Vukomanovic’s conference:

You won your last three matches and Jamshedpur FC has lost their previous four games. Is that going to play a factor in the match?

Vukomanovic: No, I don’t think so because in this league we have seen that any team can beat anybody. This is why this league is so interesting and I think our Sunday’s opponent is a very strong team. Any team in the league can have bad momentum during any period so it doesn’t mean anything. We faced the same thing, before our three wins, we faced three defeats in a row. So, in this league anything is possible. We know that both teams will be well motivated to fight for the points. We struggled against them in the competition in the pre-season, and also in the semi-finals. So, I expect nothing but the same thing on Sunday. I expect a fight, a good game and I hope the better team wins.

Your team has a very loyal fan base in Kerala and Jamshedpur FC also got a loyal fan base but what is the difference in playing in a jam-packed stadium as compared to a stadium which is relatively empty?

Vukomanovic: It was awful to play in that kind of environment last year. Now with fans, of course, it's always your 12th man. It's something that gives you extra motivation for any club playing home or away, It's something special, and actually the players from the moment you start shooting the ball around your house, you dream about playing in a packed stadium, you dream about playing in front of fans. So, later as a football player, whether you play home or away, it's always a pleasure and I enjoy every moment of playing home or away, of course, you enjoy playing because we play football for the fans.

Here are the excerpts from Nishu Kumar’s conference:

How is the season going so far you? How was the pre-season for the team and what are your expectations from the next game?

Nishu: The season has been great so far. We went to Dubai for the pre-season where we played a couple of friendly games to prepare ourselves for the league, the games were quite competitive. The team’s confidence is pumped as we won our last three matches. Jamshedpur FC is an impressive team, the team was the League Shield winners last year. It’s going to be an exciting and competitive game and we are ready for it.

Kerala Blasters FC is known as the breeding ground for young players. How has your experience been here at KBFC as a young player?

Nishu: Actually, I can’t say I’m a young player anymore but I was a young player once. Nowadays, there is special attention on young players at every club, which is great for our future. Everybody supports and motivates me here. The coach, the support, and the management staff, everyone is quite supportive. I get to learn a lot from our foreign players like Luna (Adrian) Marko (Leskovic), and Victor (Mongil). As I’m a defender, I get to learn a lot from Marko (Leskovic). Overall it’s a great experience for us to learn and grow.

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