We need to show more personality: Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic

Kerala Blasters FC are among the few teams that retained their head coach going into Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season along with ATK Mohun Bagan, Hyderabad FC, and Mumbai City FC.

All these three teams except the yellow army are at the top side of the table at the end of matchweek 4. The Kerala Blasters FC faithful expected continuity from the last season and the last three match results came as a bolt from the blue.

The loud and proud Kochi received a scintillating home win against East Bengal FC in the opening day match but the team has since faced back-to-back defeats at home against ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City FC.

Report: Kerala Blasters' misery deepens as Mumbai City FC continue unbeaten run

Ivan Vukomanovic shared his thoughts about the last match and the way forward for the club with the club’s media team.

Here are the excerpts from the interaction:

Where do you think the game against Mumbai City FC was lost?

In the last couple of days, we have spoken in the team talks on how to be aggressive from the first moment and be present in the duels. We have to be concentrated on the defending set pieces. All these small details will make difference in these kinds of games. This is an unbearable truth in football. In the first half, we were not sharp enough and we were not good enough. If we miss those things against a good team, we will be punished. After the first half, in the dressing room, we had to fix certain things. Afterwards, we were dominating, won duels, and second balls, and created chances. I think if we managed to play the first half like the second half, then the result would be the opposite. As a coach, it makes me unhappy and frustrated because we know we can do it. So, in the last match, we failed in the first half and it led to a defeat.

Thoughts on how Kerala Blasters FC started the second half?

If you see the difference between the two halves, there is nothing about technical and tactical aspects, it's only about being present and winning the duels, wanting the balls and not expecting that somebody else will do the job because it won't happen. We have to do it ourselves. For a coach, there is an unwritten law in football that if you manage to play the first half strongly and aggressively, in the 2nd half you tend to slow down and everything can be destroyed so we have to be worried. But in the last game, it was the opposite, because we know we can get back into the game through the second half it makes me happy and positive because we know we can do it, we just have to play our games like that in 90 minutes because football is played for 90 plus minutes and we as a team can't afford to play only for one half.

What should be Kerala Blasters FC’s key focus areas going ahead?

We need to be concentrated all the time, especially while defending set pieces, and we can’t afford to miss the balls and not afford to miss the duels and being aggressive in duels. We must have this part in our mind that we want to win the duels, want to kick the ball out and try to score when you attack. We have to show our mentality and strong personality like how we did the last year. Not only in Hero ISL, but in any game around the world, if you wanted to win against a strong opponent, you need to be aggressive and close your opponent and particularly when you play at home, we must show that we have something extra. These are small details which make a difference. In the last match because we had better possession, completed passes and other technical aspects but we ended up losing, so we must focus on these aspects in the next games.

Your thoughts on Rahul KP's performance against Mumbai City FC?

We were very happy with his performance considering the fact that it was his first game in the starting XI. We prepare certain things especially for that position (Diaz position against KBFC) knowing that the player who played against us last night was with us last season. So, we wanted to explore the advantage and put him in the 1v1 situations. Rahul KP is a player who has the quality and he can do it. We know that he has a national team player's potential, and he can be even better. I hope that he will show more quality in future matches in different positions and we are happy to have him in the team.

Watch the full conversation with Ivan Vukomanovic below: 

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