I'm a fan of the Kerala Blasters, most of you must be aware of that. I see the squad's quality as a fan. So, yeah, I think we have a terrific squad and I think we can definitely get into the playoffs. Likewise, looking at Delhi, I see a lot of quality inside. So both are great teams, and I've got nothing much to say about that.
So, coach, you've just taken over and your take over was a quick one. What's the game plan going forward? Are you taking every game step by step or is there a long-term plan to make the playoffs?
First of all, familiarizing myself with the players because it's easy to watch games as a fan and even as a qualified coach I haven't managed a side before, there could be a tendency to watch as a coach and decide 'they should be doing that or shouldn't be doing that'. But I didn't, I just watched as a fan and see if we can get good results. and I'd be disappointed if we don't get good results. So, to come in now in a coaching position, as you said with a, quite literally, 48-hour turnaround, I've got to understand and get to know the players as quickly as possible. One of the problems we've had, what ISL has had, is losing coaches. So it's kind of tough to come in suddenly, and thinking we're gonna work on something. We'd just got very few hours to work on things, understand the strengths and weaknesses of the players and develop that. All of this would be a longterm plan. But I'm confident and the players are confident, which is a great thing for me as a coach.
What's the status of C.K Vineeth's injury, will he play tomorrow?
As far as I'm concerned, everyone is available for at least a fitness test. I take that back, there is one player who has an injury so he might not be available. And that's not C.K. But ultimately, every player will be available for tests which will be one good thing for me as a head coach. Everyone's hungry (to play) and C.K is hungry, too.
How impressed are you with Kizito Keziron's performance?
I need to give the credit somewhere else, I don't know how much credit I'll keep giving this guy, because people will look at their version of my guy and give them a very quality player, and Kizito wouldn't have figured and this had nothing to do with the training sessions and he showed me something that put him on the bench. Put him on the pitch and he does what he does best. And the recruitment this season has been great and has some great players which are a great thing for as a coach and for Thangboi Shinto and it's refreshing to see such young talent but he isn't the only player that we've got. We're gonna have to work with him and work with other players and prove that we've not got one player in the team that doesn't want to improve and I think, yeah, they all want to improve. And it's up to us to get that improvement out. About the question, whether it's longterm improvement or short-term improvement, I think it'd be great to have both of them working and then we've got a really good squad.
So, you've had a great look at the team in the past few days. Is there anything you want to change in the upcoming transfer window?
Can't you see, this is the best thing to happen to the ISL, the transfer windows. As Delhi has proved by bringing in Xabi Irureta, not saying that he was or is better or worse than the previous goalkeepers Delhi has had, with all the injuries and stuff like that. But there was always a bit of a conundrum on who will start because of the size of the squad in the first place, but now there's an opportunity to change the squad up again. ISL has become what I would say what domestic leagues around the world are like. Since I've been working with the players, for about two training sessions, I'm not in the position to take people in, I'm not interested in bringing people in because another belief I have is that a head coach can make what you have already better rather than bringing in new players because theoretically, anyone can bring in players. For me to be what I can be with my coaching style, for me to get what I can get out of my players will be done without getting new people.
Apart from the football bit, any plans to tackle the Delhi pollution like probably bring the players in later?
Two weeks ago, I think there was a thing in the news, I was in Hongkong, about the Delhi pollution. There are parts of Delhi that are stunningly beautiful and I just remember seeing them back in the years. Yeah, so there are parts that are very beautiful but if there's smog, what can I do about it? Probably not flying would be a good idea, but the travel options with ISL is something beyond my control, so yeah. Still love the city though. I've told the lads, to get out. If they get an opportunity, they should get out and see the city, India Gate and what not.
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