ISL 2018-19: Kerala Blasters keen to work on the positives

Kerala Blasters' head coach, David James, felt that Pune plays a very aggressive game and hinted that it could have worked against the side

Kerala Blasters players during a practice session in Kochi on Thursday.   -  H. Vibhu

With an impressive performance against Jamshedpur FC in the last game, that sent a message to the many fans that they should not give up on this team so quickly, a confident Kerala Blasters FC takes on FC Pune City in the Hero Indian Super League at the Nehru Stadium here on Friday evening.

Clearly, the 1-1 draw has lifted the mood in the team and the Blasters’ head coach David James said his boys would be looking to better their performance.

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“I thought we were in very good form against Jamshedpur, it was a very good game despite having a decision (the penalty) which shouldn’t have gone against us,” said James on Thursday.

Pune, despite having big names like Brazilian Marcelo Pereira ‘Marcelinho’ and Iain Hume — the ISL’s top two goal-scorers two years ago — have just one win from 10 games and are two rungs below the Blasters in the ninth spot with five points.

David James in Kochi on Thursday.   -  H. Vibhu

 

James felt that Pune plays a very aggressive game and hinted that it could have worked against the side. “I think they have had a few suspensions. And I am surprised that they have not had more suspensions actually because some of the tackles that some of their players make are disgraceful,” said the Englishman.

And though his boys are above Pune in the league table with nine points, James said he would not take any match lightly.

“You can’t look at the opposition as an easier game or tougher game, we are looking at continuity and using the confidence from the last game to get a little bit more improvement in there. And it doesn’t change the fact that we have to go for a win tomorrow.”

The fact that the Pune defence has conceded the maximum number of goals, 21, this season should motivate the team’s top stars, like Slavisa Stojanovic, to push hard for goals.

With Pune’s chances of making the playoffs bleak, its interim coach Pradhyum Reddy said his team would try to finish higher in the league.

“I think every game is a do or die. Three points can propel you up the table. It is a game we cannot afford to lose. But irrespective of our playoff chances, we want to finish as high as possible,” he said.

Blasters will be without Nikola Krcmarevic and Keziron Kizito while Pune, which lost its last two games, has landed here without Diego Carlos.