Both Kerala Blasters and Atletico de Kolkata eye a victory over their opponent on Tuesday, as they hope to resume their rivalries in the Hero Indian Super League
Atletico de Kolkata make the trip south to play the reverse fixture against last yeara s runners-up Kerala Blasters, but both teams have been struggling to recreate last seasona s form that saw them through to the finals of the Hero Indian Super League.
Kerala Blasters, since Peter Taylor left, have seen an improvement in their performance and have bagged four points from six. Newly appointed Chief Coach Terry Phelan will be expecting to continue their recent form as they fight with NorthEast United FC to avoid the wooden spoon award. Atletico de Kolkata, on the other hand, are striving hard to find goals, having lost to the Highlanders in their previous game at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.
Both teams will be hoping that a victory over their opponent will help kick-start a winning streak as they challenge for a spot in the playoffs. Kerala Blasters chief coach Phelan emphasised that they will take it one game at a time and with the right attitude.
a Every game is a big game. Every game we go into we have to go into it with the right attitude. We will be going into this game with the right attitude to get three points. If you can manage two or three wins, it will propel you to the top half. We are very confident that we can go out there and grab the three points.a
Kerala Blasters assistant coach Trevor Morgan seems to have played a crucial role since the absence of Taylor, as they first managed to hold Chennaiyin to draw, then defeat league leaders FC Pune City. Morgan, who has been present since last season, knows that the close nature of the league that positions get easily shuffled and wants to put up a winning streak.
a It’s not where we are that counts. In three weeks, we could be in a completely different position. One or two wins can propel a team higher up. At the moment, no team is pulling away. There is no huge gap. There is a seven point gap between top and bottom which can be turned around with two wins.a
Injuries to their star players have hit Atletico de Kolkata quite hard, who would be missing Helder Postiga, Josemi and Javi Lara, but coach Antonio Lopez Habas doesna t like to use injuries as excuse, on Monday, was forced to concede that injures have been a major problem for the team.
a We have had three very important players injured. Ita s too much of a problem for the team. I have confidence in my players and we have to work every day.a
Habas, though, is determined to put the loss to NorthEast United FC behind them, as they look for their first victory in the second leg of the league stages.
a Both of us have been in similar positions this season. Kerala wants to win right now and we also want to win. Both of us need a win but we have the time to cover the position in the league. We have to be calm and not be nervous. Being nervous cannot get you anything.a