Kerala Blasters FC’s head coach Ivan Vukomanovic was delighted after they defeated East Bengal FC by 2-1 in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday. Japanese winger Daisuke Sakai scored in the 32nd minute of the game to put his team in front.
Subsequently, Dimitrios Diamantakos scored towards the fag end for the visitors to double the team’s lead. However, Cleiton Silva scored from a spot kick in the injury time but it was not enough to stage any kind of comeback.
“We wanted to reduce (the space between the lines), we wanted to change our approach a little bit. But in some parts of the game, I was happy that we were pressing high as well. Recognizing when we have to sit back and wait. And then I think with the lack of space between the lines, they couldn’t find the openings and create something serious. Even they had a couple of good situations in front of the goal where they could score,” Ivan Vukomanovic said in the post-match press conference.
“But if in those moments, you have that luck, speaking of penalties as well, saving two penalties in the same moment… When all these things and small pieces come together, then you get a mental boost to continue. Physically we were okay. We could run, press and we could defend. I’m happy that the boys could recognize tactical situations, how to close down the space and not allow the dangerous players to create something. As a coach, it makes you happy. I’m really happy to see the boys perform that way,” he further explained.
In fact, the Tuskers only had 40% of possession and they took three shots on target. Vukomanovic was delighted with the way new players have stepped up and have taken the onus on their shoulders.
“Three games in a row, playing without foreign players in defence, we conceded goals, but we managed to score more goals than our opponents to win the games. It makes you feel proud. When you see those (young) boys, you don’t expect (much of) them, but yet they are hungry, yet they want to prove themselves. As a coach, before this large break of three weeks, it gives you a good feeling to continue. I think it never happened in the history of our club that after six games, we’re sitting on top of the table. So for everybody it’s a good feeling. Whoever follows or supports Kerala Blasters FC from our side, it’s a great achievement. Everybody should be proud. It’s nothing but more motivation to continue and become better,” he explained.
“We have to stay humble. We are nowhere. Maybe after six games, we are on top of the table, but I prefer that we are at the end. There are 16 more big games to go. 16 more big steps, so nothing’s over. We have to stay calm, work hard, shut up and stay humble because we know who we are,” he concluded.
Kerala Blasters FC will next take on Hyderabad FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi on 25th November.