ISL 2017: Kerala Blasters' Rene Meulensteen - Expect Jamshedpur FC to be fairly direct

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The former Fulham manager is not ruling out to switching to a three-man defense when Wes Brown returns to the team from injury...

After only picking up a point in their opening Indian Super League (ISL) game, Kerala Blasters host former manager Steve Coppell's Jamshedpur FC and current Boss Rene Meulensteen only hoped for the season to go upwards from thereon.

"I expect them to be fairly direct. We have to be very alert. It's good to get the first game out of the way. We're up for it. We know what the stadium can bring is. We want to be as positive as we can. It will be a challenge for sure," he said about his opponents on Friday.

The former assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson spent a lot of time talking about Arata Izumi's new role - sitting right ahead of the defenders. " There are various positions. Arata has played more advanced. In wide areas, we need to have some level of the place. Arata is calm on the ball, he is adapting to his new role. He had a very good game. You see that more often when players get to their 30s, they move back from the front."

"We work on different options. I think that is a good thing that we have on the team. I have got the players that have the ability to play in various positions. You will see (if he plays there) tomorrow. Last week it was a bit of disappointment. He has picked up training again. I am very careful since it is a long season. It's touch and go to be honest."

The Dutchman was impressed by second-half substitute Prashanth Karuthadathkuni, but not so much with his full backs Rino Anto and Lalruatthara from the previous game.

"It becomes a concern when it happens for a few games. There is a bit of an anxiety amongst the younger players. Prashanth has got unbelievable place. He is eager to learn."

Meulensteen did not rule out switching to a formation that will accommodate three at the back once former Manchester United man Wes Brown is declared fit to play. " It gives us an extra option. It'd be stupid of a coach not to look at it. It's important that substitutes have that extra factor."

Iain Hume too did not take the ISL debutants Jamshedpur FC lightly. He said, "​We know how organized Steve is with his team. I have played with Tiri for two years. He will go into the game thinking he knows everything about me and I will do the same. That's a challenge. I will be looking forward to it - they have got some top players."
 

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