Ivan Vukomanovic on Kerala Blasters FC’s transfer plans, facing Prasanth K and more

Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic has refused to rule out Kerala Blasters FC entering the transfer market in January but has made it clear that the club will only add to their squad if they find the right player. 

The Blasters face Chennaiyin FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) on Monday and Vukomanovic spoke about facing former KBFC player Prasanth K who joined Chennaiyin FC in the summer. Prasanth spent six years in Kochi and was part of the team that reached the Hero ISL final. 

The Serbian also provided updates on the fitness of his players during the pre-match press conference ahead of the Chennaiyin FC match. 

Here is what Vukomanovic said.

Are there some aspects of the team which you would like to improve on and some players that you would like to give more minutes to?

Vukomanovic: As a coach, you always welcome extra quality, that's for sure. So far we are very happy with the squad we have. I think last year we were maybe the only team in Hero ISL who did not make a move in the January period. Even though it was a difficult period for us, you know full of COVID and players were reluctant to join because of the isolation. Now, at this moment we are happy with the squad, if now coming closer to January anything positive happens because in the transfer window you never know what will happen. And one moment one day there is like a door opening. There is a possibility you can acquire one player, you can find somebody with quality. Of course, you can go for it and you will go for it. So far there are no moments. Everybody's sitting still. Everybody starts talking. There are some rumours but so far in our camp, there is nothing that's concrete. If anything opens of course we're going to react of course but so far we have our positions covered. We will see later if something moves of course. Like I said anything possible we'll do it, if not, we'll continue.

We already have some youngsters from the B team coming step by step with us, training all the time with the first team because we are preparing them already for the next step which means from January some of them will be constantly with us. Preparing and seeing that senior level from the next season. They are the full part of our squad, building up their careers. This is our idea. Young players have a chance to grow themselves. I'll give you an example of last year with Mahesh (Noarem Singh). He was with us at one point and we decided it would be difficult for him to get some playing time. We allowed him to go to East Bengal. He developed himself and today he's one of the best players in East Bengal. This is how it goes so if there is anything late in January, and if there's a demand for our players for young players, we'll see.

Prashant Mohan was with the team for a lot of years before making the move to Chennaiyin FC, was it your decision to let him go?

Vukomanovic: As a player, after a certain number of years, you enter into one period of comfort zone where actually you need new energy, you need new boosting, like a boost in your back, to fly again and then, we were thinking like for him it will be the best to get some playing minutes which actually now in maybe our situation it would be difficult for him and in the football way it happens. He's a great guy. He's a good player and I liked him a lot being with us. But then in one moment now we see that it was good for him to actually go there feeling new energy, feeling new things and blessing him that he's playing at a high level now. So we hope that for him, his future will be alright. So this is how it goes. If we get to know the players, they come, they go and it's the same thing with coaches. So he had that moment after so many years that maybe he needed this new energy.

What are the updates on Bijoy Varghese?

Vukomanovic: Bijoy started training yesterday after the surgery. He's been on the pitch and he now has modified work, so he will continue. Next week we'll see when he will join the team and step by step he will be back with the squad on the pitch.

Few words on Marko Leskovic? How's it going for him with the team?

Vukomanovic: I have known Marko since 2014 when we played against each other on the European group stage.  He's a great guy, great professional, great personality to have in a dressing room. Now in this situation, he's a very good example for young players. Especially for our defenders, how things have to be done, and how you have to deal with certain situations. A great example of a kind of leader to all those young players. What does it mean to play with consistency, and be aware of many other things we are happy to have him. Last year when we also had the situation to sign him. Of course, me and my coaching staff were absolute and we were pushing because we wanted him. So of course, as a team, as a coach you're glad to have these kinds of personalities in your dressing room because it brings you something extra.

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