Kerala hoping to kick-start season against Pune

After three successive defeats, Kerala Blasters will be hoping to turn things around against a FC Pune City side who will be hoping to bounce back from their loss to Chennaiyin FC.

Kerala Blasters are at the bottom of the ISL table having lost their last three matches.   -  THE HINDU

Kerala Blasters are on a downward spiral. They cannot go below further from the bottom of the table though. But last year’s runner-ups have to pick up the pieces sooner to be in the running for the knock-out. If their recent form and results are an index to their overall display in the second edition of the Indian Super League, then they have to pull up their socks, especially while defending, score more goals to notch a couple of quick wins, rise on the points table and give good tidings to legion of their followers.

After a heart-warming 3-1 victory in their first match against North East United FC on October 6, they have not won a match for almost three weeks. They drew with Mumbai City FC in the second home match, and thereafter they have slipped losing three matches on the trot to Atletico de Kolkata, Delhi Dynamos and FC Goa; the consolation being that they found the back of the net against both Kolkata and Goa.

The Blasters’ coach Peter Taylor, who has three decades of coaching experience, is hoping that the worst is over for his side and that an interval of five days from the last match they played at Fatorda would have done his team good in some way to recover from the blows. His fellow Englishman David Platt, who is in charge of FC Pune City, will want to consolidate his team’s position, who are currently third behind FC Goa and Chennaiyin FC.

“We started very well, things were positive, but since then we have got only one point from the next four games. So that’s very disappointing,” he said. “We should have got one or three points from that match against Goa, but we defended badly. I am honest to say that. We made two individual mistakes against Goa, even the goal we let through against NEU, it was an individual mistake. As long as we keep learning from our mistakes, and keep trying hard, I am okay with my team. It’s important to win enough matches to be in a good position.”

He added, “I know David Platt as a manager; his team will be in good shape and organised. But we have come here to win. There are no fresh injuries. Gurwinder Singh is still out and so is Peter Carvalho, but Victor `Pulga’ Forcada trained this morning and he trained well, so there’s a chance for him.’’

With three wins in as many matches, Platt’s team earned the respect of opponents. Turkish international Tuncay Sanli gave the Pune side a flying start in the Maharashtra Derby against Mumbai City FC and then they won against NEUFC and ATK, losing to Dynamos and Chennaiyin. The 49-year-old former Manchester City coach has no reason to fuss about his team’s performances.

Platt refused to comment on the mindset of a team that’s lost three matches in a row and said that the league has not indicated a sequence of form or anything. He pointed out how teams like North East and Mumbai City have won two matches back-to-back. “It’s too early to look at the table. There are lot more matches to be played to maintain the position in the top four, but I am happy the way things have gone so far,’’ said Platt.

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