Chopra looks to prove himself in the ISL

Michael Chopra will get his chance for redemption as he returns to the ISL with Kerala Blasters.

Chopra said he was fully fit this season and thanked Kerala Blasters coach Steve Coppell for giving him an opportunity to prove himself.   -  S.Mahinsha

Michael Chopra had an extremely unremarkable stint with Kerala Blasters during the inaugural edition of Indian Super League. Ravaged by injuries, Michael Chopra was far from his best and missed majority of Kerala Blasters’ matches in the first season. Chopra struggled to leave a mark in the few opportunities he got, including the final against Atletico de Kolkata. Given another chance to prove his mettle by Kerala Blasters’ new coach Steve Coppell, the former Newcastle and Cardiff City striker is hoping for redemption.

"I am fit and want to make it count this time. Last time I couldn’t give my best for the team. I came with a hamstring injury and later picked up an ankle injury and was below my best. I am determined to do well this time for my team. I have worked hard on my fitness in the pre-season and I am in the best shape of my career. I am thankful to the Blasters’ team management and coach Coppell for giving me another opportunity to prove myself in the ISL," he said.

"Michael is obviously a very good player with a history with Kerala. I think there will be an awful lot of teams very interested in signing, if they knew he was fit and committed to playing in India. We feel that with both these criteria, he can be a massive asset for this club going forward," Coppell said.

Michael Chopra trained two weeks with DSK Shivajians to be in prime shape for the ISL and he is thankful to the Pune club’s management for allowing him to train with the team.

The striker sounded upbeat about Kerala Blaster’s chances in the ISL. "Though I wasn’t part of ISL last season I was following the fortunes of the club. I think Kerala Blasters played well but were a bit unfortunate to lose some of the matches. This season, we have some good players. Unlike James who never had any coaching experience and Taylor, Coppell is someone who has proved himself at highest level. The team can only gain from his experience. I am keenly looking forward to do well this season under him," said Michael.

Michael Chopra has no doubt that ISL has done a world of good for the Indian players. "Definitely the standard his gone up. With no disrespect to anyone in particular, when I first came here, I noticed that they (Indian players) used to give away the ball easily. But now even if they lose, they are determined to win it back. It shows a change of attitude and the fitness levels have also gone up," he said.

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