Punjab FC head coach Staikos Vergetis expressed contentment with his team as they prepare to host Kerala Blasters FC in Matchweek 10 of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi on Thursday. 

Punjab FC continue their quest for their first ISL win. With only five points in nine matches and standing just one point above bottom-placed Hyderabad FC, the Shers currently occupy the 11th position on the league table. They are set to

face Kerala Blasters FC with hopes of securing their long-awaited first-ever ISL win.

Expressing his thoughts ahead of this formidable challenge, the Greek tactician believes his team needs a bit more in their attacking style but is confident they can elevate their performance against the Blasters.

“We have to execute all the concepts that we have prepared for this game with discipline. I am very happy seeing my players being more effective in the plans and we should look to continue the same. We are playing against a very strong opponent with very good key players, but we have improved as a team in our defensive function. We need a little more (improvement) in our offensive style of play, but I believe that we will take one step up in tomorrow’s game in our performance,” Vergetis stated in the pre-match press conference.

Vergetis wants his players to get out there on the pitch and compete against a strong Kerala Blasters FC side, who are currently second in the points table. He believes that the mental preparation for a big game is nothing but finding the right balance and concentration in the tasks that the players have on the field.

“We just go there and fight it out on the pitch for every big match. Because it is the first season for many players who are participating in ISL. The mental part is something that needs to have balance and concentration in the tasks that they have in the field," he said.

The head coach acknowledges the lack of experience of his side; however, he wants his players to overcome this by working harder on the field.

“I try to keep my players concentrating on their work in the field, and they are doing well even though they are youngsters, like Nitesh (Darjee) who is here (at the press conference) also, the most important is the player to have in his mind when he is playing his tactical tasks and to try to execute them 100%. Even though we have many youngsters without many experienced players, they are doing well in this issue. I think that we have played until now, some bad moments, some individual mistakes. But I cannot say that it's a lack of concentration. It's, experience, lack of experience,” he commented.

Defender Nitesh Darjee accompanied the head coach to the pre-match press conference. The 19-year-old has already made six appearances in the league this season and is eager to face a strong Kerala Blasters FC side.

Darjee expressed confidence in his team's recent performances, stating that they have played well in the last few matches and are prepared to give their all against the Blasters.

He stated, “It's a big, experienced side from Kerala. So our team also prepared for the match. In the last matches, we have been doing really great. So let's see tomorrow we'll go full (out).”