Kerala Blasters FC's assistant coach, Frank Dauwen, has set his sights on securing three points as they gear up to host NorthEast United FC in Matchweek 4 of the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Saturday.

Kerala Blasters kicked off the 2023-24 ISL season with impressive victories over Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC at their home ground. However, they experienced their first setback on the road against Mumbai City FC. The Blasters will be eager to rebound when they face NorthEast United FC, a side that has also tasted defeat just once in their first three matches.

Kerala Blasters FC has emerged victorious in their previous three encounters with NorthEast United FC in the ISL. A triumph in this game would mark a historic winning streak against the Highlanders. Dauwen demanded his team to put the Mumbai City FC loss behind them and focus on securing three valuable points on their home turf.

“It’s a new game with the supporters behind us. They were amazing in the first two games. With the crowd behind us, we have to go for the three points,” Dauwen stated in the pre-match press conference.  

NorthEast United FC began their campaign with a home defeat against Mumbai City FC but rebounded with a victory against Chennaiyin FC and a draw against Punjab FC on the road. Dauwen, the Belgian tactician, has thoroughly analyzed their opponents, NorthEast United FC, during their recent matches and believes that his team must be well-prepared for the upcoming challenge.

“I saw the last three games from them, they played good games. They have good wingers but they also have good foreign players in each line. They have a good striker (Nestor Albiach). Their midfielders are not bad. They showed that against Mumbai (City FC) by launching good attacks with good wingers. Young guy (Parthib Gogoi), has scored a lot. I think he has three goals at the moment. So I think the team is much better than last year. We know that and we must be ready for that,” Dauwen stated.

Addressing Jeakson Singh’s injury, Dauwen stated, “I think the shoulder problem, he needs surgery maybe next week. So I think maybe two months, two and a half, three months. So it's for a long time.” Unfortunately, Marko Leskovic (injury), Prabir Das (suspension), Milos Drincic (suspension) will be absent for the Blasters. 

Dimitrios Diamantakos, the Greek forward, joined Dauwen in the pre-match press conference. He had a standout first season with the Tuskers, scoring 10 goals and providing three assists. Despite his initial absence from training sessions this season due to injury, he is regaining full fitness and is confident about finding his form again.

“I think that I am finding my rhythm, my form and I hope that I can help the team tomorrow (on Saturday) and can also start scoring,” Diamantakos stated in the pre-match press conference.

When asked about forming a partnership in the attack with new signings such as Daisuke Sakai and Kwame Peprah, Diamantakos praised their football intelligence, saying, “It's really good because they know how to play football, how to attack, how to make movements. Of course, you needed a bit more time. I wasn't in the training (sessions), but now in the last (few weeks) I was there. It was better and I could train with them. And I think that we can start to create good things.”