Team better than results show, claims Vingada ahead of ATK test

Eduardo Manuel Martinho ‘Nelo’ Vingada will begin his stint at the helm of Kerala Blasters FC with a tie against two-time Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) champions, ATK at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. The Blasters’ wretched first phase leaves them with little chances of making the playoffs considering a hefty 11-point gap that separates them from the final playoff place.

Tending to his pre-match duties a day prior to the clash, the Portuguese spoke of his admiration for the Blasters squad which he felt, should be higher up the table. He said, “One year ago, I did not know much about Kerala. Now, I know more but for sure, not enough. It will never be enough. But now I have every information. Regarding also the feedback I received from the staff, were important. So, the conclusion is that the level of the team, the level of the players is not as results are showing. We have to understand why the team lost few games in the last minutes.”

The Blasters were on the wrong end of a 6-1 thrashing by Mumbai City FC in their final Hero ISL match before the start of the winter break. On being asked about whether his players were still haunted by that result, the 65-year-old said, “The next game is always the most important and difficult. We cannot forget the past. But now is a new time. So, I want happiness with the fans and players. So, tomorrow my intention is to be honest. The most important part will be the way our players send a message.”

Adding his thoughts on the ATK match, a confident Vingada said, “All my concentration, all my work has been on our team. I respect ATK. I respect every team. I believe that tomorrow if the players can be how they are, if they prove that they are ready to play, and the most important, it is not enough to play well. We have to be great fighters. We have to show to this team and the fans how much they want to win. Tomorrow if each player can give more extra 10 per cent than they can give, it will make a difference. I hope they understand my message. I believe we can build a team that can show the real Kerala Blasters.”

CK Vinneth and Halicharan Narzary moved away from the Blasters on loan to make Vingada’s work even tougher. However, the Portuguese was far from concerned regarding his club’s transfer plans, stating instead that he is focused only on ATK. “It’s not a time to think about bringing in new players because we have an important game tomorrow. And as I said, it’s the most important and most difficult game tomorrow. So, I have to try the best connection in the team. I believe the quality is there. The players are the most important part. I’m trying to find the best solution to the team,” he added.

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