Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic anticipates a tough challenge from Mumbai City FC when they face off each other in Matchweek 11 of the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi on Sunday.

Kerala Blasters FC currently sit in second position in the league table with 20 points from 10 games. They have won six games, drawn twice, and lost twice so far this season.

Mumbai City FC sit in third position in the league table with 19 points from nine games. They have won five games, drawn four, and have not lost any games so far in the league this season.

Vukomanovic is expecting a tough game and knows that his players also like to play in challenging matches like these.

“I expect a good game against a good opponent. We like to compete and play in these kinds of games,” Vukomanovic stated in the pre-match press conference.

“Especially the players, they like these types of moments when we are fighting for the places at the top of the rankings,” he added.

“I am expecting the players to be highly motivated and show their qualities to fight for the points,” the tactician continued.

Adrian Luna has suffered a long-term injury and is set to miss out on a significant part of the season. The Uruguayan midfielder has played nine games for Kerala Blasters FC so far this season and has been their most creative outlet with three goals and four assists.

Vukomanovic understands the challenge of playing without Luna but also recognizes that his side has to cope with his absence.

"Over the past two and a half years, Luna, Lešković, and others contributed to our unique playing style at Kerala Blasters. Losing key players is irreplaceable, but in football, you adapt. It may not always be beautiful, but we focus on fighting for 90-95 minutes, getting points, and getting the job done," he said.

Kerala Blasters FC have scored 14 goals so far this season, and Adrian Luna has made a significant contribution to most of them. Vukomanovic feels that competing on the pitch during these situations is more important than playing an attractive brand of football.

“Sometimes it is not beautiful football or the things that we have seen in the previous games but is about fighting for 90 or 95 minutes, getting the points and getting the job done,” Vukomanovic said.

Mumbai City FC have scored 15 goals and conceded seven goals so far this season. They are the only unbeaten side along with FC Goa. However, four of their players received suspensions in the previous game against Mohun Bagan Super Giant.

Vukomanovic, however, feels that Mumbai City FC remain a challenging side to play against even when they are missing certain players.

"Even if Mumbai City FC miss a couple of players they are still one of the strongest teams in the league,” he said.

“They have good players. It is a well-built-up team. They have a new coach with new energy so nobody should think that it will be an easy game. It will be a fight and we have to be ready,” the Serbian added.

Kerala Blasters FC defender Marko Leskovic joined head coach Ivan Vukomanovic in the pre-match press conference. Having played three games so far this season, Leskovic is returning from an injury that sidelined him for a few matches.

The centre-back expresses happiness in returning from his spell on the sidelines and is expected to play in the upcoming game against Mumbai City FC.

“It is always nice to be back after an injury. It is not nice to watch games from the sideline,” he said.

“I feel better and it is always good to be in the team to play these types of games,” he added.

Leskovic affirmed his and his fellow players' readiness for the upcoming home game.

"We will be ready for tomorrow's game in our stadium with our fans," he added.