Kerala Blasters FC showed a bold composure and brought their A-game to the field in their 1-0 victory over Hyderabad FC, putting an end to their remarkable unbeaten run of six games, on their home turf at the G.M.C Balayogi Athletic Stadium. To top it off, the Blasters made amends and got redemption for their loss in the Hero ISL 2021-22 final against the very same opponent.

Positioned seventh in the league standings, the three-time Hero ISL finalists didn’t start off as would be expected of them, winning four and losing three out of seven games. However, their head coach Ivan Vukomanovic is adamant on getting the best out of his team and continues to take the positives out of the defeats while having full faith in his players to come through as the season progresses.

The Serbian featured in the latest LFL Show alongside sports broadcaster and commentator Anant Tyagi, and host Suyash, as he spoke about the presence of one of Asia’s biggest fanbase, being a part of the KBFC family, the performance pressure of the players, and a lot more.  

Watch the full LFL Show here

Having played his first-ever season with Kerala Blasters FC in the bio-bubble, Vukomanovic was exhilarated by the reception of the KBFC faithful in their opening match of the Hero ISL 2022-23 against East Bengal FC, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Kochi. 

“It was awful to be there in the bubble and (to be) playing without the fans because football is a worldwide brand, we play for the fans. You want to bring something extra and show something extra to the fans who are coming to the stadium and those who are watching in front of the TV screens,” Vukomanovic stated.

The Yellow Army erupted in joy after getting to witness the artistry of Vukomanovic live for the first time at their home ground and a victory in the very first game was the cherry on top for the supporters.

“Since our first game against East Bengal FC, when you see the stadium trembling and all the energy and emotions around the stadium, it’s priceless. Everybody here at Kerala Blasters FC is proud to be a part of the logo because being part of this great club is something special,” he added.

While the season began on a topsy-turvy note for the Tuskers, Vukomanovic believes that his side weren’t able to fully concentrate in the entirety of the game, and while the performances might have been decent, the defeat was much to the dismay of individual errors. He further laid emphasis on how the team needs to structure itself to be at the top level and avoid getting into such individualistic errors.  

“There were these moments where our defeats were just kind of many individual mistakes that occurred during one game and actually as a football player, you must not allow yourself to make those things on the top level because against top teams, your one mistake can turn into a goal, so then you must be more responsible.”

“You must be more concentrated, more focused on everything because it happens that you are one of the best on the pitch for 90-92 minutes and then at the last minute of extra time, you make a mistake and you lose the game, then you are the worst. These kinds of things as a professional football player you recognise as your responsibility because that’s your job.”

While Vukomanovic tweaked a bit of his style when they went up against Hyderabad FC and reaped rewards in the three points, he clarified that the focus should remain on the approach and mindset rather than thinking about the tactics.

“It’s not about changing tactics, it’s about changing approach and mindset. Okay, like, I will not allow my opponent to score from set-pieces, this is something I have in my head, I will not allow it, I have to go and fight for the duel, that’s it, that’s the mindset you have to go with,” he added.