Kerala Blasters will host North East United FC on Thursday night, in their second ISL game of the season. A win against the Highlanders would swiftly dispel the tensions surrounding the loss against ATK Mohun Bagan last week. As for the visitors, they are coming with a victory against Mumbai City FC and stands 4th in the league table. Kerala Blasters head coach Kibu Vicuna and midfielder Lalthathanga Khawlhring spoke to the press ahead of the match.
When asked on the NorthEast United FC performance last match against Mumbai City FC, Kibu commented, “They played a very good match, and they are a well-organized team. For sure it’s going to be a tough challenge for us.” Further, Kibu graciosly responded to the comment made by Gerard Nuss by stating, “In football it’s XI vs XI, the budget is more for the comments of the media and the supporters. It is about passion, performances, tactics, and emotions.”
Speaking about the long period of football inactivity and the challenges to prepare for the new season he said, “Yes, it takes time and we are in the process. And with time we are going to be better and stronger.” Two of our Indian starlets, Nishu Kumar and Rahul KP had a tough time fighting with their injuries ahead of the opening clash and has started training with the team recently.” Speaking about their comeback, Kibu quoted, “When they (Rahul and Nishu) are 100 per cent fit and ready, they will be able to help the team.” Kibu is also sanguine about Sahal’s performance in the previous match, he quoted “He is an important player – we have to create a good environment for him. It is only the first match. I think he did some good things, he had two chances, and he was close. We are happy with him.”
“Every game is different, we are ready to compete and get the points. We have a plan for the game tomorrow as well. Yes, we have to improve in the final thirds,” Kibu said when asked about the lack of chance creation. Speaking of the opponents for tomorrow, coach said, “All the matches in the ISL this season are very closely contested games, Northeast had a very good match last week but we are playing to get the three points tomorrow.” When asked about how the dressing room environment is after a narrow loss over ATK Mohun Bagan Kibu said, “In football we have to be prepared for every result. We are in the process to creating a good team and a family.”
Lalthathanga Khawlhring aka Puitea also shared his thoughts on his first impressions on Kerala Blasters, “I am really happy at Kerala Blasters FC. We have a good crop of Indian players and some very good foreigners. About getting a chance in the first XI he cleared that it’s all about time. And when my time comes I will get the chance.” When asked about adjusting with the bio bubble so far.”
Puitea replied, “Yes it is difficult here, but it is what it is. The regulations are quite stringent, twice a week we have tests, but we have to adjust with it,” he further expressed his thoughts on sharing the dressing room with senior players like Hooper, Costa and Vicente, “They always motivates us and share so many experiences with us.”