Players dream of crunch matches like these: Kerala Blasters’ Ivan Vukomanovic ahead of Mumbai City FC game

Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic is convinced that their upcoming match against Mumbai City FC, at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa will be a cracker and a test of abilities for his wards as the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 inches closer to its climax.

The Blasters outclassed Chennaiyin FC in their previous match and enhanced their chances of qualifying for the semi-finals. They are currently in fifth position, with 30 points from 18 matches.

Vukomanovic addressed the media during the pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday’s game.

Here are the excerpts from the press conference:

The match against Mumbai City FC will be a potential quarter-final for Kerala Blasters FC. The senior players must be familiar with such situations, but how are you going to motivate the younger players for the match?

Vukomanovic: No, of course it is a nice fixture. We're speaking about these moments a long time ago, But, you know, as a football player, when you start playing football, you dream about and work hard for these kinds of games. So the game on Wednesday is big, it doesn't matter if you are a senior player or a young player.

Of course, this is a nice experience and a nice opportunity to play a good game. So that's it. It's a good game, against a good opponent and that's everything you wish for as a football player. That’s really a thing to dream about, to go on the pitch and play good teams and try to achieve something nice. That's the beauty of football. So we have our preparation, it doesn't change a lot, compared to other games.

Mumbai City FC are third when it comes to goal scoring (34 goals) and Kerala Blasters FC have conceded just 19 goals (joint-least by any team) this season. So, are you planning to score a couple of goals and defend, or are you planning to go all out?

Vukomanovic: The game is one of the final games in this competition. Of course, there will be high stakes. There will be stages when you want to press and stages when you need to defend. So of course our style and the way we play, we like to have possession. We have to press high, we like to keep clean sheets.

So I think for Wednesday's game, both the teams will consider having all those elements because, it's not like it was in November or December because which was a different period, many things have changed since then.

So on Wednesday, I think they will try to attack. We'll try to attack. They will have to defend, we'll have to defend. I think that the game, we'll see all elements of football where both teams are fighting for points, because both coaches want to get the points. So, it will be an open fight and it will be like an exhausting fight till the last moment. That's what I'm expecting from Wednesday’s game.

Jorge Pereyra Diaz, Alvaro Vazquez and Puitea are all on three yellow cards and another yellow in the upcoming match could hand them a suspension for the successive game. How are you planning to tackle this situation?

Vukomanovic: Well, you know, these boys, they know the responsibility while on the pitch and playing these kinds of games, you never know during a football game when you are in the duels, when you tackle.

You never know sometimes when you are in a duel, full of adrenaline and your reaction on the pitch. It can get you yellow cards and also lead you to suspension, but that's a part of football. So they are now at that limit (three yellow cards), so I hope that tomorrow they will not get a yellow card in a stupid way.

Blasters’ footballer Rahul KP was also present at the press conference and responded to the questions put forward by the media.

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