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ISL 2018-19: David James - Kerala Blasters prepared for 'tough fight' against Jamshedpur FC

12:53 GMT 28/10/2018
David James
David James is confident going into Monday's clash against Jamshedpur and wants his side to score more goals...

Kerala Blasters head coach David James is hoping to avoid a repeat of last season's performance against Jamshedpur when the two teams meet in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Monday.

The match at the Tata Sports Complex last season saw Jerry Mawihmingthanga write his name into the record books by scoring the fastest goal in ISL in the first minute. 

"It is an interesting matchup. What was a very good start a few weeks ago, we have now suddenly dropped out of the top four. We have got a tough fight tomorrow. We don't want to add to ISL records after last season, Jerry scored the quickest goal," David James remarked ahead of the game. 

The Yellow Army will play Pune City away from home and then host rivals Bengaluru FC in Kochi in the space of two days after they take on Jamshedpur. 

"We are prepared for it (the fixtures). We have three quick games in succession, just like last season. Having used last season's experience, hopefully, we have learned how to prepare better for the games afterwards. 

"Having a break for the national team to play in an important game preparing for the (Asian Cup) finals in January, as a coach, I am happy that I have players picked in the squad and Anas playing at the end of that match was very important. We have got to juggle our schedule around to facilitate the national team, it only improves the national team.

"We can be celebrating some international success for India as well. We are used to playing quick games in succession. We are a bit more experienced at it now and the team should be more prepared for it."

Blasters failed to close the game out after taking the lead in their last two matches. A wonder goal by Pranjal Bhumij and a header by Andrija Kaludjerovic have nicked a total of four points from their home games so far. 

"The game against ATK was wonderful in so many different ways. To win 2-0 in the first game in ISL is a good start. Mumbai (result) was down to a wonder goal in the 90th minute. Football needs them (wonder goals) but genuinely, I don't need them against me. They happen.

"The game against Delhi was tremendously frustrating because we had two incidents cost us three points. One being an offside goal and one being a penalty that should have been given. That is not a criticism against referees, we are all human. I am very pleased with the way the team has started and the way the team has gelled."

Defender Anas Edathodika is available for selection after serving his three-match suspension that carried over from last season. 

"Anas is available for once, it puts a different perspective on team selection. It makes the whole group much more competitive. As a coach, what you want is everybody fighting for a place. 

"One player who hasn't featured at all, Loken Meitei, he will be fit in the next three games. I have 24 fit players raring to go and eager to involved."

David James also stressed the importance of giving starts to the deserving candidates. The English coach is yet to field the maximum allowed limit of five foreigners in the first team.

"The Indian-foreign mix is always a contentious issue. I dont look at it in that sense. In the last match, I did not realize three guys weren't Indian until I had written the names down.

"Guys who start the game deserve to start the game. I am thinking (the reason for the results) is because I did not have enough foreign players on the field.  There is no intention to fulfil some obligation and put five foreign players on the field. I have very good players."

James said he is confident of a positive outcome from Monday's clash and wants his team to score more goals.

"There is nothing in training that suggests I shouldn't be confident going into the game. I am respectful of the opposition of course.

"We want to keep going.  We don't want to play boring football. Leading 1-0 is a good scoreline that gives us three points. We have created chances and it will be nice to score a few more. Tomorrow will be a good start.