Indian Super League

ISL 2021-22: Ivan Vukomanovic - Sahal Abdul Samad can be an asset for Kerala Blasters

12:46 PM GMT 18/11/2021
Ivan Vukomanovic Kerala Blasters ISL 8
The new Kerala Blasters boss is hopeful of a good show from his team in the new ISL season...

Kerala Blasters are set to kick off their Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 campaign against ATK Mohun Bagan in the season opener on Friday at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa.

After a disappointing outing in the last season where they second from the bottom, the Yellow Army will go into the new season with new hopes of improving their position on the league table and make it to the play-offs.

The South Indian outfit has made quite a few changes in their squad including in the coaching department. Serbian coach Ivan Vukomanovic has taken charge of the team as their new head coach.

Ahead of their opening game of the season, Vukomanovic seemed confident of a good show from his players as he mentioned that a long pre-season has benefited his team in terms of fitness.

What did Ivan Vukomanovic say?

"We had a whole process when we started. Last three-and-a-half months, we were working very hard in every possible aspect. In the friendly matches, since we arrived in Goa, I was very happy that we could hold the game for the entire match and in most matches, we were the dominant side. And some of the game we played 120 minutes.

"So the part of fitness and stamina, we are happy so far. There is still a huge scope of improvement. When you start a competition, you start building up. We will get better and better as the games pass," said the new Kerala Blasters boss.

The Serbian coach is hopeful that star Indian player Sahal Abdul Samad will be a key contributor to his season and he also elucidated on his philosophy of the players playing as a unit be it in attack or in defence.

"In our team, he will play in the attack. In fact, we were speaking that all our players must attack and all of them must defend. Probably, we will play in some different formations this season and in every formation all players will have their roles.

"Sahal is a kind of player who has the potential to be a very important player for our team and the national team. We are happy with his improvement. We are happy with his motivation to work hard and improve. Both Sahal and Adrian Luna can play in multiple positions," stated Vukomanovic.

The former Standard Liege manager did not want to speak much about opponents ATK Mohun Bagan and is focused only on the performance of his own side.

"We are mostly focused on ourselves and how we play and what our tasks will be on the pitch. Of course, during every game, you have the moments where you have to attack and you have to defend. That doesn't mean only one team will defend. Tomorrow we hope that we see a good football game," opined the Kerala coach.

The manager also confirmed that there is no injury scare ahead of the new season and the entire team is up for the fresh challenge.

"There are no serious injuries. Thankfully, we never had any major muscle injury in the last three months during the pre-season. Everybody is available for tomorrow's (Friday) match," informed Vukomanovic.