Kerala Blasters FC got a crucial 3-0 victory over Chennaiyin FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium to maintain their semi-final push in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL). KBFC Head Coach Ivan Vukomanovic praised his side for their performance in the second half of the game.

A brace by Jorge Diaz and a great free-kick goal by Adrian Luna sealed the victory in Kerala Blasters FC’s favour.

Match Report: Kerala Blasters FC ease past Chennaiyin FC to keep semi-final bid on track

Ivan Vukomanovic addressed the media after the game.

Here are some excerpts from his press conference:

Did Chenniayin FC make it hard for you to earn the three points tonight?

Yes, but they are a very good team. Chennaiyin FC had difficulties in the first part of the season. I'm still convinced that they have a very good team but the circumstances that happened during the season with Covid-19 and everything, meant that certain teams like Chennaiyin FC are sitting on the spot at the table where they are, I think there are many good teams who are struggling, who were struggling, and still struggling. I have huge respect for their team because I think they're a good team but, the circumstances when you play with more motivation when you play with the more will to get those points, I think today we showed that especially in the second half. In the first half, we were a little bit nervous because when you know the importance of victory and the three points, then you have to be very concentrated on your passing and everything. And that was not the case. In the first half, we had difficulties going through the lines to find the space to find the openings to run through the channels. And then in the second half, after talking to the dressing room, we created more chances, we were more clinical, we were more efficient and that resulted in the goals. So I think that after the first goal we opened up and then the opponent had to come a little bit higher, it opened for us some other possibilities, which resulted also with the other goals. So of course in the end, I still believe I think they're a very good team and they deserve to be higher up the table.

What are your thoughts on Rahul KP and Chencho Gyeltshen?

Well, first Rahul, we can say he's coming from far away. He played his first game in the competition on the 19th of November and he got injured. Last week he played his first game after so long. And for a young player like Rahul KP, it is very important to be on the pitch to improve, to become better because missing many games during one season with the short-season here in India, it's not that good. So now at the end, we hope that he will collect more minutes so that he will come back into shape. Hopefully, after the season he will continue working hard to keep in shape. So we are very happy to see him back on the pitch because he's giving us something that we were missing in the last period. He is a quality player and a quality guy in the dressing room. So we're happy to have an extra weapon like him. Chencho is a guy who needs more time to play again in the short-term competition here in India. It's quite difficult, especially speaking about foreign players' policy. So I'm happy to see him on the pitch, he has to be more efficient as a striker. He has to be more clinical to use those moments and be efficient in front of the goal to score goals. I hope that it will come and I hope that he will perform even more for us.

As a coach, can you realistically set high expectations for all those incredible things Adrian Luna does on the team?

You know even before we started our work with organizing everything and our first signing was Luna, I was saying at the beginning that Luna will be one of the players who will show himself and who will leave his trace and show quality things in Hero ISL. We are very happy to have that kind of player. First of all as a leader, second of all as a quality player who can perform who can make difference with his goals with his passing. So this is a type of player that every team would like to have. Now, after a couple of months, the players are getting used to each other, they're getting used to the league, they're getting used to doing the level and I think that we are just getting started. When I see them enjoying playing on the pitch together, it makes me feel proud. It makes me happy because that's what football is all about. Having pleasure, enjoying football, and being efficient. So these kinds of things. We would like to continue in the next period as well and hope for the best.