When you play a team like Mumbai City FC, you become a better player: Kerala Blasters FC's Ivan Vukomanovic

Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic believes his side is going through a process of becoming more consistent as they face defending champions Mumbai City FC in match 35 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 at PJN Stadium, Fatorda on Sunday.

Kerala Blasters FC are seventh in the league table with six points in five matches. After losing the first game of the season to ATK Mohun Bagan, the club has remained unbeaten. However, they have only won one out of their last four games.

In the last game, KBFC played out a 1-1 draw against SC East Bengal. They had more ball possession than their opponents but less shots on goal.

Ahead of Kerala Blasters FC’s clash with Mumbai City FC, coach Vukomanovic and midfielder Jeakson Singh addressed the media during the official pre-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from Vukomanovic’s press conference.

Do you think facing Mumbai City FC is Kerala Blasters FC’s toughest challenge till now?

First of all congratulations to them. They are top of the league. But in our perspective every game is tough. It doesn’t matter if you play a team which is at the top of the table or bottom. We have to fight in every game. Of course, we are expecting a tough duel tomorrow. I actually like to play these kinds of games because as a player you become better and improve more.

Do you feel your team is moving in the right direction to become more consistent?

After the first game we entered a positive period where we were collecting points instead of losing it. But of course we could have picked up more points against NorthEast United and SC East Bengal. We should have had more points on the table. We are in a process where we are building certain things. We are trying to be consistent.

Sahal Abdul Samad is supposed to be the creative player for Kerala Blasters FC but do you think sometimes he is holding the ball for too long or sometimes he is just releasing the ball too early?

From a coaching standpoint, during a game I would never tell my players what to do when they have the ball. Because it happens all very quick. In training, we provide the players with passing options which he could potentially take. When it comes to the game, there are a lot of things affecting their decision making. Sahal is a quality player. He is improving but there’s more scope not only for him but for everyone.

Is Kerala Blasters FC planning to recruit new players in the January transfer windows?

This week we have started discussions with the management. We have to look at the current Covid-19 restrictions because a player might not be available instantly. But we will see. It’s also a call the management has to take.

Here are the excerpts from Jeakson’s press conference.

How has it been playing alongside Puitea in the defensive midfield position?

Every game is an opportunity for me to get better and prove my position in the team. Not just for me but for Puitea as well. It has been really good. I played with him last season so I know him on and off the field. We are combining well.

What do you make of the midfield of KBFC?

We are doing good but we have to improve.

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