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Kerala Blasters v NorthEast United

Kerala Blasters boss Ivan Vukomanovic: We had to overcome ourselves

20:21 EAT 04/02/2022
Ivan Vukomanovic Kerala Blasters ISL 8
Alvaro Vazquez scored a stunning strike to add to Jorge Pereyra Diaz's goal but the Blasters could not keep a clean sheet.

Kerala Blasters head coach Ivan Vukomanovic has hailed his side's mentality and character in the 2-1 win over NorthEast United in the ongoing Indian Super League (ISL) at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco, on Friday.

The Serbian also explained the poor performance in the first half in a game he termed as one they knew would be the 'most difficult'.

What was said?

"I must admit that I am really pleased because we knew before this game that it will be the most difficult game of the season when you are facing an opponent who has nothing to lose, already bottom of the table; and on our side it's a must win game and after all the things with COVID and isolation, today it was really hard, especially in the first half," Vukomanovic opined.

"In the second half, we responded in the correct way because we needed to make the difference and score goals to achieve three points. As a coach, I'm really pleased because in difficult circumstances, fighting for the top of the table, to be there and stay there and compete till the end, we knew that we had to overcome ourselves."

Substance over style

Although it took until the 82nd minute for the Yellow Army to comfortably double their lead despite going a man down following Ayush Adhikari's sending off, the Blasters' boss revealed what made him happy.

"In games like these, you don't have to show how magical you are or how good you play. You win these types of games by showing mentality, character, fighting (spirit), commitment to your team and team-mates. As a coach, it makes me really happy," he said.

Shy of a sixth clean sheet

Being the team with the most clean sheets this season, with one to Albino Gomes' name, Prabhsukhan Gill was denied his fifth of the term as Mohamed Irshad scored in the final action of the game.

"I must be honest and say that I was not pleased with the goal we conceded at the end. In the first half of the season, we had a 2-0 lead against Odisha and conceded in the very last minute like today. It's always better when you have a clean sheet. So far we are the team with the most clean sheets and we want to continue building up because I think if we are defensively strong, then we can make a difference in front," Vukomanovic concluded.