Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic stated that the health of the players is the most important thing amid the team’s recovery from Covid-19 as they prepare for NorthEast United FC in match 81 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 at Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco da Gama on Friday.

Kerala Blasters are third in the league table with 20 points in 12 matches. They are level on points with Bengaluru FC, who are placed fourth and a couple of points behind Jamshedpur FC in second position.

Match 81 Preview: NorthEast United FC look to play spoilsport as Kerala Blasters FC eye semi-final spot

Kerala Blasters FC lost 1-0 to Bengaluru FC in their last match. It ended KBFC’s 10-match unbeaten streak.

Ahead of Kerala Blasters FC’s match against NorthEast United FC, coach Vukomanovic and midfielder Adrian Luna addressed the media during the official pre-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from Vukomanovic’s press conference.

The fans have backed you through the tough period. What’s your message for them?

I think they have been amazing from the start, supporting us. We have wanted to build a strong mentality and identity that would never leave the players from the start of the season. It doesn’t matter if you’re leading or losing a game, we will fight till the end. We have an obligation to this shirt. That’s the kind of feeling we have adopted and we want to keep it.

Before the BFC game you had said that you might not have enough players for a football game but ended up fielding more or less your best starting eleven. Was it a strategy?

No, because we didn’t know till the last game. Many players started training two days before the game. When you go out of the room after 15 days you don’t know how the body will respond. We want to take care of the players from our side. We don’t want to take any risks.

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Kerala Blasters FC will play seven matches in 30 days, what are your thoughts on it?

It will not be an issue only for us. I think it’s the same for every team. Muscle injuries are bad at this time of the season. We need to look after the players. Most probably we will rotate them at some stage. That’s the way it is. We want to avoid injury as much as possible in February.

Here are the excerpts from Luna’s press conference.

You have a two year contract with KBFC, are you looking to come back?

Yeah as you say I have a two year contract. My intention is to come back here for the next season. Let’s see, I hope all foreigners can come back so that we keep the base of the team and keep fighting.

You won the A-League last season so you’re a champion. What do you think of the momentum KBFC has this season?

I think we have been playing well so far. We have to keep playing like that after the break of 15 days. It’s not easy to become a champion, you have to be consistent. But for me, we are on the right path. We have to take each game as they come and try to win.