ISL 2017-18: David James says Kerala Blasters squad capable of winning the league

The Englishman said he would never have taken the job if he felt the squad was not capable of winning the league...

It has been a whirlwind 48 hours for David James as he oversaw Kerala Blasters to a 1-1 draw against FC Pune City in his first game in charge since returning to replace previous incumbent Rene Meulensteen.

The Englishman said he had to rely on the judgment of the coaching staff in picking his side for Thursday night.

“It has been a very turbulent 48 hours. The timing of all contractual issues, blah blah blah. I have got to thank all the coaches involved. I have had to trust their judgment on picking the teams,” he said at the post-match press conference in Kochi.

“I joined the club on the basis that we had a good squad capable of winning this (ISL),” he added.

The former England No1 described his first opponents as the best in the league and was happy with his side’s second-half comeback.

“Pune showed their quality. On another day, we would have won the game. We played that well in the second-half against the best team in the league,” James expressed.

The Blasters' coach said his decision to take off Dimitar Berbatov in the second-half was tactical and not due to an injury to the former Manchester United striker.

"I have five minutes of footage from preseason. His (Berbatov) relationship with Courage (Pekuson) was positive. I had to make that decision. In the first half, we were suffocating ourselves. In the second half, we had the pace, they had the quality. We got a good squad and now we have to win games," James explained.

When asked about what his side was still missing, the Blasters’ tactician replied, “There were a few opportunities conceded in the first half that was consistent with the chances conceded in earlier games. I will have to look into that in training.”

The new man refused to accept that aging foreign stars had been an issue for the Kochi-based side.

“I might be a fan of Kerala Blasters, but I am not stupid. If I didn't think the squad was capable, I wouldn't have come. I have got no criticism of what others have done before,” he stated.


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