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Indian Super League

Ivan Vukomanovic: Kerala Blasters need to remain modest and build on from the win

7:12 PM WAT 05/12/2021
Ivan Vukomanovic
The Serbian manager believes there is still plenty of room for improvement for his young side.....

Kerala Blasters beat Odisha FC 2-1 at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Goa on Sunday to register their first win of the ISL 2021-22 season. 

The Yellow Army scored through Alvaro Vazquez (62') and substitute Prasanth Karuthadathkuni (85') but their hopes of maintaining a clean sheet was cut short by an injury time goal from Odisha FC's Nikhil Raj (90+5'). 

Kerala Blasters head coach Ivan Vukomanovic was his team's display and believes that the squad can build on from their much-needed win in the ongoing season. 

What was said? 

"It was a huge moment. Even in the first three games we were playing good football. We wanted to explore different styles, we wanted to get in shape, press-high to play offensive games like it was against ATK Mohun Bagan," Vukomanovic said after the game. 

"Then, later, we wanted to correct our defensive lines which brought us a clean sheet against NorthEast United even against Bengaluru FC we were close to playing 0-0. But today, I think we knew we were going to face Odisha, who can control the game. We knew that there would be tough moments. We wanted to build our strategy to press them high and develop something different like it was the case from the last game and it paid off. But we have to stay modest and humble, and continue to build on because we are a very young team with players who have to improve a lot," he further added.  

The Serbian, meanwhile, highlighted that Kerala Blasters' approach might vary from game-to-game depending on their opponents. 

"Every game for us will be difficult and we have to deal with that. In our preparation, we always want to look at how our opponents look. We want to use the weak points of our opponent and prepare our game. That's why today we looked slightly different," the 44-year-old said. 

Vukomanovic also believes that the high-level of football played in Spain makes their players strong and helps them to contribute in various leagues across the world. 

"The fact that Spanish football players are one of the most educated and one of the best players in the world. If you speak about their education, not only from football level but social level, in their youth they are educated to face senior level then the level of premier league and second-division league in Spain. It's a really tough level," the Serbian said. 

"When you evaluate and play in these leagues that's when you become strong and that's why all of them make a difference here. I think that's why the Spanish players are the best in Europe and best in the world, that's why they are welcomed here," he added. 

'We had clear chances'

Odisha FC head coach Kiko Ramirez, meanwhile, felt that his team could have converted the chances in either half. 

The Kalinga Warriors had equal number of shots on target -- six each -- as their opponents but managed to find the target only once. 

"It's true that we didn't start pretty well but later we had clear chances at the end of first-half and also at the beginning of the second-half to advance in the scoreline but we couldn't make it," Ramirez said. 

"In the best moment of the team we conceded a goal and they beat us from a through ball. For the second goal fair play must exist, by bouncing the ball, to another way," he added.