Kerala Blasters will look to extend their five match unbeaten run when they face ATK Mohun Bagan this Sunday…
Kerala Blasters started their Indian Super League (ISL) campaign this season against ATK Mohun Bagan back in November 2020 and suffered a 1-0 defeat with Roy Krishna being on the score-sheet.
Coach Kibu Vicuna acknowledged that while his team saw more of the ball, they couldn’t create any decent openings and ATK Mohun Bagan took advantage of one mistake and punished them.
“In that game, we had more of the ball, we had more possession and we even controlled the match. But one accidental mistake between Sergio Cidoncha and Vicente (Gomez) and the ball went to Krishna and he scored because he is a very good striker. It is not a question of they were better than us. It is true that we didn’t create too many chances, but I think we played a good match.
“Now the circumstances are different. ATK Mohun Bagan are in the second position, they have fantastic players and a good coach (Antonio Habas) and it is going to be a very hard challenge for us,” said Vicuna.
Influential midfielder Facundo Pereyra is still recovering from an injury and missed their last game against Jamshedpur FC. The Argentinean will need at least two weeks or so to recover however, Vicuna refused to share the precise date on when the player is expected back in action.
“I cannot tell when he will return because, with injuries, you have to go step-by-step. He needs to have a two-week recovery and then we will see. We want him to be ready as soon as possible. We must look into the fracture and then decide. We don’t know, we have to see,” said the former Mohun Bagan coach.
On Sunday, Kerala Blasters would play their eighth game in a month and Vicuna mentioned that his players do not have enough time to recover in between the frentic schedule. They next play ATK Mohun Bagan followed by Mumbai City FC; two clubs who occupy the top two position on the standings.
“It was very hard because tomorrow we are going to play our eighth game in 30 days and it was difficult. Sometimes we did not have enough time to recover. It is difficult to prepare for matches because we didn’t have enough time. But again, every team had a similar schedule.
“For us, we played only four games in December and we are playing eight in January. But I think the team is improving and we have more confidence. We are competing very well against every team and now we have very tough two games against the two best teams in the competition. We must give our best if we want to succeed in these two matches,” observed Vicuna.
In their last match against Jamshedpur FC, Kerala Blasters had the better chances but failed to convert and could only pick a point instead. Gary Hooper’s strike went over the line however, the goal wasn’t awarded as the same wasn’t substantiated in real-time by match officials.
“After 25 minutes, we were the better team. We created enough chances to win the match. We had scored but they didn’t give us the goal. We have this feeling that we lost two points because we were better and even in the second half, we created chances, we had the ball and controlled the game but unfortunately, we couldn’t score the goals to get the three points.
“But we have more positives than negatives. We deserved to win more than Jamshedpur but again this is football. The good thing is that we are in a good mood,” said Vicuna as he chose to look at the positives.