We have to be humble and keep our heads down: Kerala Blasters FC’s Harmanjot Khabra

Kerala Blasters FC managed to register their first win of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season after defeating Odisha FC 2-1 at Tilak Maidan Stadium on Sunday to break their 11-match winless streak.

The win has pegged Kerala Blasters FC to the sixth position on the standings, however, Harmanjot Khabra believes there is still a long way to go with millions of fans rooting for them to perform well.

“We have millions of supporters there to support us, always the expectations are there. So, the dressing room atmosphere is always on the top but I think we need to be careful about that. It is just a first win and I must urge the youngsters that we have to be humble and keep our heads down and we have a long way to go,” said Khabra.

The youngsters have proven to be essential for a successful Hero ISL campaign while grooming them to perform consistently is something that Kerala Blasters head coach, Ivan Vukomanovic, has made his effort towards.

“We have some interesting young players who can play football, in my vision and as a coach  I like to see players improve and become better, exploring new things and that’s how they can become more important especially later on in their career. Sahal is a guy who can play between the lines, he’s a guy who can play in the front like a number ten, even like a striker, even on the side. So, I want him today to be important and close to the strikers because there are typical combinations that we are trying in practice and I am happy as a coach to see these guys evolving and improving.”

The win can prove crucial as it comes at a juncture which could decide their fate in the upcoming matches with momentum shifting ever so slightly in their favour that beckons some congratulations in the dressing room.

“I must congratulate everyone in the dressing room for the way we have fought especially when they (Odisha FC) won their last matches and have a good plan but anyways, the boys have responded well and they deserve appreciation. We had a plan and we stuck to that. We appreciate our strikers, they have brought the goals but I am disappointed as a defender to concede the goal at the last minute,” added Khabra.

With two assists, the Hero of the Match, Adrian Luna too feels that the three points are critical while assessing the type of play to yield desired results.

“I think it (three points) is very important. Tonight I am very proud of my team. We won 2-1. We played beautiful football. I am proud of all my teammates. We always try to be like that (aggressive) but sometimes you cannot because you have to study the opponent and look how they play but we try to play this football. I am looking forward to the next game and try to play well and make our fans proud.”

Meanwhile tasting his first defeat as a captain this season, Vinit Rai recognises that the focus should now remain on the upcoming matches.

“All the boys fought really well. It was unlucky that we lost the match but it is what it is. We have tasted defeat but we just cannot think about this game but look forward to the other games in the coming days. It is a very important time for us players to stick together.”

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