Jamshedpur FC interim head coach Scott Cooper felt his team need to put in extra effort to nullify Kerala Blasters FC’s home advantage as their fans provide added energy to the home team. 

The Red Miners travel to Kochi to take on Kerala Blasters FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium on Sunday and will be looking for their first win of the Indian Super League (ISL) season after they drew 0-0 in their first match against East Bengal FC in Kolkata.

But Cooper warned his players to be fully focused on the task at their hand as the yellow army has a spring in its step when they play in front of their fans in Kochi. 

“The fans that support Kerala Blasters FC are fantastic,” Cooper said at the pre-match press conference. 

“It's really impressive to see that sea of yellow. It's great for home players and staff. The fans push the team. When you play against any team that's got fan support like Kerala Blasters FC have, you have to match the work rate as an opponent. It's not just numbers, it's colours and it's noise, so you have to understand that and play with your eyes wide open,” he added. 

Kochi is experiencing severe rainfall in the days leading up to the match and heavy rain is expected to continue on Sunday. The heavy downpour could affect the playing conditions and the Englishman feels it could work to his team’s advantage. 

“The rain does affect the game and is a factor. But it probably is a disadvantage to the home team,” Cooper said. 

“It's a leveller. Kerala Blasters FC won their last game here, so their confidence is up, spirits are up but the rain can make the widest of margins, if there are any, become even very fast,” he added. 

There were moments of promise for Jamshedpur FC in their opening game against East Bengal FC but they lacked the bite in the attacking third to take all three points from the game. The 53-year-old believes his team will improve as the season progresses and be much more of a threat in front of goal. 

“We are still a developing team. We have got many layers to go. We have a couple of players injured that have to come back and one player that is going to come into the team,” Cooper said. 

“So, this team will get better and better. We have to work as a team to be more proactive than reactive and when you do that the confidence comes in and results do follow,” he added. 

Jamshedpur FC have historically been strong in set-pieces and posed a lot of threat in dead-ball situations in their last match. Cooper believes the team are on the right track and can use this as their strength. 

“We had many set-pieces in the last game but I can't be disappointed because the deliveries were good, the runs were good, so the players were doing their jobs,” he said. 

“We were just lacking the last bit of connection. But if we keep going that way with the same commitment and desire and the tasks and patterns that we have set, we can do a lot of damage,” he added. 

The Englishman also delivered positive news about midfielder Ritwik Das who is closing in on a return after his injury which was feared to be a serious one has been deemed otherwise. He also hinted that the club is close to announcing a replacement for the injured Petar Sliskovic as he signed off.