A big win can do wonders. After an impressive victory against two-time champion ATK in the Indian Super League opener in Kolkata the other day, there were plenty of smiling faces in the Kerala Blasters team here on Thursday on the eve of its first home game against Mumbai City FC.
The Blasters look stronger physically and mentally and, since it has had a five-day break after its last match, a lot fresher too. And the team will be playing at home in a packed Nehru Stadium which could worry any visiting side.
Clearly, the Blasters will be expected to beat Mumbai, which played its last match – a 0-2 loss against Jamshedpur FC – just two days ago.
David James, the Blasters head coach, appeared confident and spoke about the many options his young side has. He has had a look at the video of the last game and that has raised his confidence level further. But he made it clear that he would not take the visitor lightly.
“If we think because Mumbai lost (its last game), we should win easily, then we will be very much mistaken. They have some quality players in their new recruits, if they jell, they are going to cause problems,” said the former England World Cupper.
“We just hope our fans don’t make them feel happy. We can have a full house and if they are going to dislike Mumbai as much as they can, nicely, and turn this place into a fortress where teams don’t want to come and play, then…” said James, virtually feeding a naughty thought to the team’s many fans. “We’ll be going all out to win, don’t worr9y about that.”
Meanwhile, Mumbai coach Jorge Costa admitted that his players were weary since they did not have much time to recover after their last game and said his team would be under pressure.
“Tomorrow, we have pressure to get some points. Also Kerala, because they are playing at home after a win, they will also have pressure too. Football is like this,” he said.
“I am not happy with the result (against Jamshedpur). Our first half was nothing special. We created a lot of chances in the second half. But the last few minutes were horrible. I am here to try to win the three points.”