Positive approach and strong mentality key to Kerala Blasters FC’s resurgence: Head coach Ivan Vukomanovic

Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic heaped praise on his players after they recorded an emphatic 3-0 win over Chennaiyin FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Tilak Maidan stadium in Vasco, Goa on Wednesday.

The win lifted the Blasters into the top four for the first time since the Hero ISL 2016 campaign when a minimum of five matches were played in a season.

Vukamanovic felt the turnaround in the team’s result was down to the hard yards his team put in the training ground and their mentality to continuously improve.

The head coach addressed the media after the match.

Here are the excerpts from the press conference:

What is the recipe for the turnaround that we are witnessing in Kerala Blasters FC's season?

In football there are several things, but first of all it's hard work and belief and commitment to the team and the hard work, the belief that you can win every game. These boys, the mentality and mindset they are showing and also the hard work that they put in makes me proud of them. We are happy with the performances so far. We know that it will be very hard in the ISL but when you have that kind of group with this mentality and positive approach then it's easy to work, it's easy to continue. And if you have the potential to improve in the team, then you have to continue to believe in the team.

Is winning big against a Chennaiyin FC side who had conceded the least number of goals before the game a big tactical win for you?

We knew beforehand that Chennaiyin FC has the best defence so far. We knew it will be a tough game with their defensive shape and low block and we knew that in certain moments with our high pressing, we have to be clinical and very quick in our decision-making, trying to find free men and then finishing the actions. All of it happened today like it did against Mumbai City FC, so we are happy. So we had an idea, we had a strategy how to attack the game and in what part of the pitch to add pressure. So I'm pleased that the boys understood what we asked of them. Also in the end we must be pleased with the three points and the 3-0 scoreline.

Back to back cleans sheets for Prabhsukhan Gill. How encouraging is that?

Of course for a young goalkeeper it's a huge achievement. When the defensive line and the entire block are working well to close the gaps and when you are concentrating on your line and not conceding goals, it gives you more and more confidence. Since he is starting he has done a great job and he has to continue working hard with our goalkeeping coach, with the team and become even better. So he can do it. We have huge confidence in all our players. Of course, the clean sheets can boost our confidence even more and can go a long way in making us an unbeatable team. That's what we want to continue to do.

How important is the game against Jamshedpur FC going to be now?

Every game for is important. We are not looking too far ahead and taking it game by game. So every game in the Hero ISL will be crucial and Jamshedpur FC is again a team we faced in the pre-season period like Chennaiyin FC. This is a tough team to beat. This is a physical team and we have to ready for the physical work, we have to ready for duels. I think we will see both teams wanting to win all three points, both teams wanting to play good football, fighting football and then as I like always to say, let the better team win.

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