The Kerala Blasters will look to extend their five-game unbeaten streak when they face ATK Mohun Bagan this Sunday …
Kerala Blasters started their Indian Super League (ISL) campaign this season against ATK Mohun Bagan in November 2020 and suffered a 1-0 loss with Roy Krishna on the scoresheet.
Coach Kibu Vicuna admitted that if his team saw more ball they couldn’t create decent openings and ATK Mohun Bagan took advantage of a mistake and punished them.
“In this game we had more ball, we had more possession and we even controlled the game. But an accidental mistake between Sergio Cidoncha and Vicente (Gomez) and the ball went to Krishna and he scored because he is a very good striker. It is not a question of knowing that they were better than us. It is true that we did not create too many chances, but I think we played a good game.
“Now the circumstances are different. ATK Mohun Bagan is second, he has fantastic players and a good coach (Antonio Habas) and it will be a very difficult challenge for us, ”said Vicuna.
Influential midfielder Facundo Pereyra is still recovering from injury and missed his last game against Jamshedpur FC. The Argentine will need at least around two weeks to recover, but Vicuna has declined to share a specific date when the player is expected to return in action.
“I can’t say when he’ll be back because, with the injuries, you have to go step by step. He needs a two week recovery and then we’ll see. We want it to be ready as soon as possible. We have to look at the fracture and then decide. We don’t know, we have to see, ”said former Mohun Bagan coach.
On Sunday, the Kerala Blasters would play their eighth game in a month and Vicuna mentioned that his players did not have enough time to recuperate between the frantic schedule. They then play against ATK Mohun Bagan followed by Mumbai City FC; two clubs which occupy the first two places of the classification.
“It was very difficult because tomorrow we will play our eighth game in 30 days and it was difficult. Sometimes we didn’t have enough time to recover. It is difficult to prepare for the matches because we did not have enough time. But again, each team had a similar schedule.
“For us, we only played four games in December and we play eight in January. But I think the team is improving and we have more confidence. We compete very well against all the teams and now we have two very difficult games against the top two teams in the competition. We have to give the best of ourselves if we are to succeed in these two matches, ”observed Vicuna.
In their last game against Jamshedpur FC, the Kerala Blasters had the best chances but failed to convert and were only able to pick one point instead. Gary Hooper’s strike crossed the line, but the goal was not awarded as the same was not corroborated in real time by match officials.
“After 25 minutes we were the best team. We created enough chances to win the game. We scored but they didn’t give us the goal. We feel like we lost two points because we were better and even in the second half we created chances, we had the ball and controlled the game but unfortunately we couldn’t score the goals to get the three points.
“But we have more positives than negatives. We deserved to win more than Jamshedpur, but again, it’s football. The good thing is we’re in a good mood, ”Vicuna said choosing to look at the positives.