James feels yellow in stands can lift Blasters

David James, the former England goalkeeper, calls himself a Blasters fan and rates himself lucky to assume charge of the side he played for.

Kerala Blasters coach David James says yellow in the stands can lift his team up.   -  THE HINDU PHOTO ARCHIVES

David James is an expert in infusing confidence and boosting team spirit ahead of a daunting away game against Mumbai City FC in ISL season four. It remains to be seen whether Kerala Blasters FC display on the pitch will reflect the head coach’s positive thinking. The former England goalkeeper, who calls himself a Blasters fan and rates himself lucky to assume charge of the side he played for, said: “I see quality, but there is plenty of room for improvement.”

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He wishes for a Mumbai Football Arena (MFA) packed with fans. “A full house here, a lot of yellow as well (in the stands) will make it little more like home for us.” MFA’s separate stand for away fans is a sell-out, the visitor have cornered tickets in other stands also and it is likely that the Blasters team may walk out to a rousing welcome, similar to the roar greeting the players at Kochi.

Crowd support

Emotional highs can lift performances, but goals and victories happen with adapting to situations. “Mumbai are where they are because of quality. We have to be appreciative of that, at the same time we are not in a position to lose games. They have a different style (compared to Delhi Dynamos) and we have to adapt ourselves. A disciplined and fearless performance from Kerala Blasters is expected.”

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James has changed Blasters, felt MCFC coach Alexandre Guimaraes. "A new coach shakes up everyone — those being left on the bench, those starting, everyone,” said the Costa Rican. “Winning an important game away has made them alive and that is a warning for us. We cannot give them any chances.”

Confident of resources

Guimaraes also explained his objectives. “Our first goal of the season was to finish close to the playoff spots at the halfway stage. We've accomplished that and it puts us in a good situation to continue to compete and we hope that we can make the most from run of home games now. I am very confident about resources and players to fight till the end and be in the top four.” MCFC, fifth in the league, is within range of a first four finish.

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Replying to a question whether he watched Kerala Blasters 1-1 draw against Mumbai City FC at home, the Englishman said: “I have seen every game, because I am a team fan. Wherever I was, I managed to get hold of the matches and watched. The difference being, once I became head coach, I’d be interested in why they are playing in a certain way rather than results.”