Skinkys: Every supporter of Kerala Blasters FC deserves better results and we will make it happen
Two-time Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) finalists Kerala Blasters FC did not have the best of campaigns in 2020-21 as they finished second from bottom to the great disappointment of their fans. And it’s no surprise that the club management is desperate to put things to rights in 2021-22. In an exclusive interview with indiansuperleague.com, Kerala Blasters FC Sporting Director Karolis Skinkys let it be known that the club wasn’t happy with the output in the season gone by -- that is three wins, eights draws and nine defeats that saw them finish 10th on the points table. “Of course, we are not satisfied -- we performed way below our level. Reasons are being analysed, we will fix the mistakes, improve some details and we will move on,” he said.
Led by Kibu Vicuna, a lot was expected from the team as the likes of Nishu Kumar, Jordan Murray, Costa Nhamoinesu, and Gary Hooper were roped in ahead of the season. However, a string of disappointing results forced the club to part ways with Vicuna in February. But Skinkys did not pin all the blame on the Spaniard for their performances.
“The performance of the team was affected by many details, some mistakes were there, some individual performances were not up to the mark, some mental issues. Kibu was a good professional and did his best, so if you ask me directly, is he the only reason, the answer is definitely no, there were many reasons,” said the Lithuanian.
All through the season, the Blasters were particularly let down by their defence as they conceded 36 goals in 20 games, only better than bottom-placed Odisha FC who conceded 44. “The most important aspect of defence is organisation, we must be organised better than the opponent, work harder than the opponent and avoid individual mistakes. Hopefully, we will have a longer pre-season [in 2021-22] and can meet the season fully ready,” Skinkys said.
In one of the few positives for the Blasters from the 2020-21 season, the likes of Rahul KP and Sandeep Singh impressed one and all through some solid performances. Skinkys, however, stressed that team work was far more important than individual exploits. “I think that they gained much-needed experience and it will help them next season. We are a team and our team performance was poor, so it makes no sense [to say] that somebody performed well. All of us will be good if the team plays the semi-finals next season. So, all concentration should be there,” he said.
With a lot riding on his shoulders, Skinkys’ first objective is to bring in a head coach who can breathe life back into the team after the disappointment of last four seasons. “Let’s go step by step. First, we need to sign the head coach and organise a good pre-season. Before the start of the season, we can talk about targets,” he said.
Skinkys, however, refused to let on if there was a possibility of former head coach Eelco Schattorie coming back to the club. “At the moment, the coach’s selection process is active and I would not like to mention any names,” he said.
When asked if there were some big signings on the cards, he said: “We will sign quality players within our budget who fit the system best.”
Skinkys also made a promise to Kerala Blasters FC fans. “Every supporter of Kerala Blasters FC deserves better results and we will make it happen,” he said.