Without supporters, we are nothing: Kerala Blasters FC’s Ivan Vukomanovic
Ivan Vukomanovic's side ended Mumbai City FC's nine-game unbeaten run.
Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic was a happy man after his side secured a comfortable 2-0 win over Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Sunday.
Two first-half goals from Dimitri Diamantakos and Kwame Peprah marked the conclusion of the Islanders' unbeaten streak. After narrowly enduring a 2-1 defeat to Mumbai City FC in the reverse fixture earlier this season, Kerala Blasters were determined to secure a victory this time. Their supporters spared no effort, leaving no stone unturned as they played the role of the 12th man from the stands.
The Serbian head coach was pleased with the atmosphere the fans created today, and he feels that atmospheres like these motivate the players to fight, especially the young players.
“Today the atmosphere was something special,” Vukomanovic said in the post-match press conference.
“Every voice and every face are important to us. We enjoy playing in this kind of atmosphere, especially for the boys and youngsters who are growing up. Getting this kind of experience gives them goosebumps, and it's good for their careers,” he opined.
“Big things to them (the supporters) today for coming in such large numbers to support us; it's priceless. Without them, we are nothing,” the Serbian added further.
Ghanaian forward Peprah took some time to integrate into his new team, but he is slowly finding a rhythm with Diamantakos, which is truly satisfying for the head coach. The forward duo scored one goal each and provided an assist for the other.
“Peprah is a new face in our team. He needed some time to adapt to our team, new teammates, our work style, our way of life, and the way we do things here at Kerala Blasters,” he said.
“Now, he's doing a great job, and as a coach, it makes me feel good to see them (Peprah and Dimitri Diamantakos) cooperating, creating chances for each other, and helping one another out,” Vukomanovic added.
Nevertheless, despite all the positives, the injury to midfielder Vibin Mohanan might be a concern for Kerala Blasters FC, especially given that they are already without some key players due to injuries.
The tactician hopes that his injury is not serious and mentions that it will take some time to provide a specific update on his condition.
“When he stepped, he got kicked from behind, and his ankle twisted a little bit on the inside. He's on his way to the hospital for an X-ray, and we will assess everything later when we arrive at the hotel. Hopefully, there is nothing wrong (with the injury),” he said.
Similar to the Blasters, Mumbai City FC were also missing some of their key players due to suspension, while their center-backs Rostyn Griffiths and Tiri were forced to sub off due to injuries during the match.
Vukomanovic believes his players showed a good performance despite the absentees and hopes they continue the same in their next game against Mohun Bagan Super Giant to end the year on a positive note.
“We were missing a bunch of key players (today), yet seeing the boys perform, collect points, and fight like that as a coach makes you proud,” he said.
“Actually, tonight we didn't feel like something was missing. Both sides were aware of the players missing, but that's football. We also have to deal with it in the next game, which is in three days. Hopefully, we'll get refreshed and finish this year on a positive note,” Vukomanovic signed off.