Ahead of the big game against Bengaluru FC, head coach, David James, spoke to the press and here are the highlights of what he had to say.
On the playoff, Super Cup and the current season
James pointed out during his press conference that talking about the playoff could be redundant as the result of the FC Goa - ATK game could change the whole scenario and he was right.
He added that the team has been on a five-match unbeaten streak but it would have been better if his side lost one and won one of the two matches they drew in the current unbeaten streak as it would have enhanced playoff chances.
James also spoke on the importance of a win against Bengaluru
“There is also another mission, the Super Cup. So we have to try to make sure that we finish in the top six of the ISL so that we don’t have to play an extra qualifying game for that. So the result may not go our way tonight but it does not mean we don’t need to come here tomorrow not needing to win."
On the fan rivalry
The matches between Kerala Blasters and Bengaluru has gained a lot of media attention even before the season started due to the banter between the two sets of fans.
"Since I have been here, since I have been involved with the Blasters now in its fourth year, as far as I am concerned and this isn’t to blame anyone, that the fans conduct themselves in a proper way and I expect them to do that.
With regards to the players, I expect them to do that. The difficulty for the manager is when the players start getting involved in the non-footballing stuff. Bengaluru are a very good side and they have to be respected for their football capabilities. That makes the game difficult of course, but also playing on their own patch which makes it even tougher. It’s another game of football, just like playing in the NorthEast United in front of a few thousand fans.
The result has to be the same that we have to win another game of football. If we lose focus on anything outside the white lines of the football pitch, that will affect our performance. This game has to be like against the NorthEast and like the one against ATK in Kolkata. On that side, things won’t change. For the fans, I hope, it’s a respected rivalry."
On the travelling fans
"This morning there was a group of fans which turned up to me on the plane. Obviously, that makes us feel like home, like a second home. I have been informed that there is a large travelling contingent that will be here tomorrow. I just hope it will be a wonderful celebration of football and ideally, we can get the result going our way tonight, it would be a wonderful last week which we can look forward with hope along with the fans."
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