Kerala Blasters were dealt a crushing 0-6 hammering by Melbourne City FC in the opening match of the LaLiga World tournament at the JLN stadium in Kochi on Tuesday. Blasters’ head coach David James lauded the visitors for their excellent display on the night while admitting that his side was guilty of a few too many errors.
“Well Played Melbourne City. The overriding feeling at the moment is that a quality opposition will punish you if you are not playing as well as you can. They took advantage of a few opportunities that perhaps we gifted them at times,” said the Englishman.
“As much as you want to win the game, because it is preseason, we want to protect our players from serious injuries. It is a bit of a mixed feeling at the moment because the scoreline is not good,” James added.
The game was a chance for the Blasters’ management to see Slavisa Stojanovic and Matej Poplatnik in action for the first time since their respective moves to the club but the duo was unable to make much of an impact.
“The players have come and played their first game in India. It was tough for them, they are not used to it. We have done a good short preseason to come into this. The intensity has been good. It makes a massive difference when you play a team that doesn't let you do what you want to do,” James said about the duo’s contributions.
The Kerala head coach believes his men will have learned a lot ahead of the new Indian Super League (ISL) despite the one-sided affair.
“I want to win these games, but at the same time we have to be aware of the fact that we have the ISL. We have a lot of experience now from a 6-0 defeat. I don't like losing games but the team has learned a lot of things from the performance,” he stated.
The Englishman believes that the difference in technical quality between his side and the two overseas teams will hold his men in great stead for the future.
“I would imagine Girona would be of a higher level (with respect to technical ability). The opportunity to play Girona is magnificent regardless of the result. It gives my players a chance to understand how they need to improve. They can all do this. This is a thing with Indian footballers at the moment that they need to do (play higher level opposition) in order to challenge other clubs,” James said.
His Melbourne City counterpart Warren Joyce, on the other hand, felt his side had more scope for improvement despite the huge margin in the final outcome.
The former Manchester United reserve team coach said: “There were times when we could have been more ruthless in front of goal. In transition, we could be better. All in all, it is a good work out and there are plenty of things that we need to improve and get better at. It is an enjoyable atmosphere and a good crowd.”
“Sometimes 6-0 looks like a thrashing but they are a well-organized team. We dominated possession; it is preseason, so there were maybe some tired legs in the second half.
“Everybody's working the same towards the season. There is a long way to go before the season actually starts. Both games are preparation for the Cup game.”
Melbourne City’s new recruit Riley McGree bagged himself a brace on debut for his new A-League outfit after impressing for the Newcastle Jets last year.
“I think it was a good first game for me, to play with my teammates and get integrated into the team. There are definitely things we can improve on,” the midfielder stated about his display on the night.