Poor decision-making cost us: Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic

Kerala Blasters FC were stunned in their own den as they suffered their first defeat of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season to ATK Mohun Bagan at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Sunday.

Dimitri Petratos shone with a hat-trick and goals from Joni Kauko and Lenny Rodrigues ensured a dominant win for the Mariners while Ivan Kaliuzhnyi and Rahul KP were on the scoresheet for Kerala Blasters.

Report: Petratos hat-trick stuns Kochi as ATK Mohun Bagan win seven-goal epic

Vukomanovic felt the goals his side conceded were down to poor decision-making, but at the same time, the KBFC head coach called for his side to learn from their mistakes and bounce back.

Here are the excerpts from Vukomanovic’s press conference:

Your thoughts on the game?

When you're playing against such a strong team and when they are wounded, it's the most difficult situation. Today we had an idea. The way we started the game, I think we were really strong. We were good with our pressing and we were not allowing the opponent to come past the midline. We scored a goal and it was really nice. Then suddenly, the moment we lost the calm in the game, we allowed our opponents to get on the ball, trying to compose things, to build up things. And that resulted in two easy goals because we were in a good moment.

There were bad decisions in that moment - on how to attack and how to go into the duels. The players also had to realise themselves in those moments. In those moments, when you play against strong teams and strong individual players, it’s more about decision making. It's about those moments how you will react. We made those mistakes and they punished us. Then from a good situation and a good result, we went down to 1-2 at half-time.

In the second half, we wanted to press them high again and get back in the game. But due to these big mistakes, we conceded the goals. But there were moments of bad decision-making when we lost the ball so easily and then we had to face the counter-attacks. Even when we were 1-3 down, we tried to get back by scoring goals, and by having good chances, and then at the end (we conceded).

It gives me a bad feeling because we conceded goals due to our mistakes and errors that you cannot afford on the highest level.

On one hand, I'm okay with that because it comes now, in the second game. For our team, it's good to see the issues you have to solve and work on. And we continue with the positivity, trying to show how things have to be done. In football, sometimes you have to make those errors in order to see if it's wrong or right. We're sorry for the result. I think that shouldn't be the margin (of the defeat). We need to analyse these mistakes and try to get back to some basic things in our training session and prepare for the next game.

Read: It was difficult for the players to play under such pressure, says ATKMB head coach Juan Ferrando

Thoughts on Hormipam Ruivah’s performance?

Hormipam is a good, young player. Mistakes, especially in his position, are part of the game. These players improve and they go out of their comfort zone. They were playing for a second time in front of a home crowd, playing at the highest level. Not only here, but every player must realise that this is how it goes on the highest level. Especially when you play in these crucial positions in your team. One small mistake leads to a goal. They have to realise that mistakes are a part of the job. As a young player, I made these kinds of mistakes and I learnt from them. You have to improve, play simple, become better and this is how it goes. He will learn from those mistakes not only him, but (also others) of the many crucial wrong decisions, especially in the second half.

Do you think the right side of our defence was vulnerable during the counter- attacks?

It was not only that. When you are in possession and you are trying to build up, and trying to make those openings, there is a moment where you have to be closer to your opponent. Especially strikers, in order to break down the counter attacks, if it occurs. Tonight on that side (right), we were late on a couple of occasions to act on those moments. But it was bad decision-making in bad moments. We will have to correct these things.

Your message to the fans?

All the fans have to know that whenever we play at home, we're going to play offensively, we’re going to play to win. We want to play for them. Then, there are also certain things that we have to take into consideration. Like those moments that we conceded the goals, we will have to know that we will have to deal with those moments in the future. This is football. We still stay positive till the next game. In professional sport, this is the nice part. You win, draw or lose you know there is a next game. There is a time to confirm, a time to prove that it was only a bad moment. We will continue our work with enthusiasm and positivity.

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