27 June Monday

New coach in place, Kerala look to get campaign back on track

PTIUpdated: Wednesday Jan 3, 2018

Kochi > With former England goalkeeper David James back as the head coach, Kerala Blasters would look to get their campaign back on track when they host FC Pune City in their Indian Super League match here tomorrow. The Blasters have notched up just a win from seven matches to be languishing at the eighth spot in the 10-team league and Dutchman Rene Meulensteen got the boot yesterday for this dismal show of the last season runners-up side.

The franchise owners were quick to appoint James, who was the player-cum-head coach in the inaugural season in 2014, was appointed to guide the side within a day. The passionate fans of Blasters will hope the appointment of James to bring the turnaround in the fortunes of the side and they have to do it quickly if they want to qualify in top four after the league phase.

'Well, when the season started, every team wanted to do well. So did we. But the results are there for everyone to see. But we are Kerala Blasters, we have the best fans. So, for now the most important thing is tomorrow's game and get a right result for the fans,' Blasters FC assistant coach Thangboi Singto said during the pre-match media conference.

'In terms of our planning, we have to do what we have been doing. But what is most important is to score and not concede. They are all professional players and they know how it works,' said Singto. FC Pune City are in a much better position as of now as they are currently at second spot with 15 points from eight matches with the help of five wins.

Pune's away form has been spectacular this season and they are coming into this fixture on the back of two great results against FC Goa and NorthEast United. But Vladica Grujic, FC Pune City assistant coach, said his side will show no complacency

'Every game is difficult. Maybe they are not in a good shape at the moment. We will have to concentrate on our game and not take anything lightly,' he said. Pune will, however, miss their coach Ranko Popovic who is serving a four-match ban