Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic stated that it was the crucial last pass that the team were missing as the Yellow Army lost to a solitary goal against Hyderabad FC in the last league fixture of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL), in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Kochi, on Sunday.

The last league match of the season was a closely-fought contest with both teams giving their best to end the league on a high. But untimately, it was Borja Herrera's finish in the 29th minute which turned out to be the difference between both teams. Kerala Blasters FC came close on numerous occasions, but Manolo Marquez's side showed why they are the best defence in the league.

The 2022-23 Hero ISL league stage is now over and teams will compete for the ultimate prize now. The Blasters finished in the fifth spot in the league standings, while second-placed Hyderabad FC registered yet another win.

Kerala Blasters FC have now lost three games on the trot and the team would now be looking to regroup and prepare for the playoffs. Vukomanovic revealed his side couldn't apply the finishing touch to the attacks and they anticipated a tough game against Hyderabad FC.

"We wanted to be a dominant side, we tried to play football, to create something because we know our defence also likes to see that. We knew before the game that it'll be around one goal (the scoreline) because have Hyderabad FC who conceded the least number of goals this season. We know we were facing a team with tough organisation and (one that plays) physical football," Vukomanovic said in the post-match press conference.

"We were good till the final third but then we were missing the last pass, the last lucidity of some players who can create that last moment of magic. Hyderabad FC is a good team, there is a reason they are second on the table. They are tough side. We lost our game tonight and now we have to prepare for our game on Friday, he added.

Young midfielder Vibin Mohanan was handed his Hero ISL debut. The 20-year-old has featured thrice for Kerala Blasters FC this season, with his previous two appearances coming off the bench. Vukomanovic was pleased with the midfielder's performance and labelled Mohanan a great potential talent.

"I'm happy with the performance of Vibin (Mohanan), he showed quality and I think after playing more games, he'll become better and better. He has a huge potential not only for Kerala Blasters FC but for the Indian national team as well because that kind of quality technical player in midfield, you don't have a lot of them in India so I'm happy with that," Vukomanovic said.

The Blasters would now face arch-rivals Bengaluru FC on March 3 in their first playoff game. Vukomanovic stated the players will recover and would try to make the best out of the training sessions to prepare for the next fixture.

"Most of the players will have recovery on Monday, some players will get to refresh and when you're competing in the playoffs, you don't have time for training. It's the games, recovery and then games and most probably players will suffer. We have to see how we can make the best out of it," stated Vukomanovic.

The Yellow Army have lost three consecutive matches concluding their league stages. The team will face their arch-rivals Bengaluru FC who have made a brilliant entry in the playoffs with eight consecutive victories. Vukomanovic stated that the team would try to create chances and dominate in the next fixture against the Blues.

"We will try to create chances and score some goals because when you face these kinds of teams like Hyderabad FC and Bengaluru FC, they are well organised and when you play in front of your crowd, automatically you want to dominate and create. And then when you face such teams and miss the last touch, it'll be difficult to create chances. We were also not quick to build from behind and if you allow the opponent the opportunity so they'll take it and Hyderabad FC was good tonight. We are now going to face Bengaluru FC and maybe we'll try to sit back and then counterattack, we'll see," Vukomanovic concluded.