Tough task but Blasters ready to fight

A lot of things have changed since the Kerala Blasters FC last played FC Pune City, and that was just a week ago. As the two teams, one at the top of the table and the home side at the bottom, get ready for the return match at the Nehru Stadium here on Wednesday evening, it could look like a battle between two unequal sides.

Kerala Blasters' new head coach Terry Phelan at a training session in Kochi. Phelan, who took over the reins of the team from interim coach Trevor Morgan, is positive of a turnaround.   -  H. Vibhu

Three different coaches in three games!

A lot of things have changed since the Kerala Blasters FC last played FC Pune City, and that was just a week ago. As the two teams, one at the top of the table and the home side at the bottom, get ready for the return match at the Nehru Stadium here on Wednesday evening, it could look like a battle between two unequal sides.

But the new head coach Terry Phelan, who took over the reins of the team from interim coach Trevor Morgan, is positive of a turnaround.

“We’ve had a little bit of an unlucky run but I’ve got great stuff around me. Morgan, he has been absolutely fantastic, he knows the players a little bit better than me,” said the former Irish World Cupper here on Tuesday. “It’s a bit of a sticky situation but I look forward to win the next game.”

Road ahead

Despite Mohammed Rafi’s two stunning goals, the Blasters lost its away encounter to Pune 3-2, its fourth straight loss which saw its head coach Peter Taylor leave, and Morgan is clear about the only road ahead for his team.

“I think we should not be too concerned about other teams, we have to show them what we have got. We can’t afford not to, we’ve got seven more games to go and we’ve probably got to win four or five of them to get a chance to get into the play-offs. We have to go forward now,” he said about the tough task at hand.

Morgan is also clear about where things went wrong against the league leader when they last played in Pune.

“We gave the left-back far too much room last week and to see someone create that third goal was very disappointing from our point of view,” he said.

Englishman Nicky Shorey had offered the assists for all the three Pune goals, scored by Nigerian Kalu Uche and Turkey’s Tuncay Sanli, and his perfect crosses and smart runs had exposed the Blasters’ shaky defence.

“We played them only last week so our players know what Shorey can do. We don’t have to tell them that, they saw the proof there last week. He has got great experience, has great quality on the ball…the same with Tuncay Sanli, the same with Zokora,” said the Blasters’ assistant coach.

Inspiration

The team hopes to gain inspiration from the improved showing against Chennaiyin in its last game here and hopes to move forward with that.

“I think the other night, against Chennaiyin, we did very well. The penalty was disappointing but we created opportunities, got many crosses into the box. We could have won last week but these things happen,” said Morgan.

Meanwhile, Pune coach David Platt said that despite his side being on top of the table, the Blasters will be a tough opponent.

“Whichever way you look at it, it’s going to be a difficult game. I wouldn’t worry too much about league position,” he said.

“I think we are in a healthy position at the moment, it’s time to go get some points to make sure we are in the top four.”

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