The famous bunch of Kerala Blasters fans who are popularly known as “Manjappadas” recently issued a statement which called out James for his ‘clueless tactics’. The Englishman claims to not have read the statement and hence refused to comment on the matter.
“I didn't see the Manjappada statement so I can't comment. Football fans are entitled to their opinion. I don't have a problem with people's opinion. I have to appreciate the fact and I say this respectfully; the football fan of yesteryear is different from the football fan of now.
“As a head coach, I want to win every game of football and want the fans to be entertained. I have told people back home about how KBFC fans are the best fans in India. I don't change my opinion.”
James stressed how the recruitment policy focused on long-term returns rather than temporary fixes.
“The way we recruited, we weren't expecting to reach the finals in year one. The first game vs ATK proved that we could win a game of football. All we can do as the coaching staff and players is give our 100 per cent,” said the English coach.
The 48-year-old claims that Jamshedpur are playing just like Kerala and we will be witnessing a battle of equals on Tuesday.
“We have won only one game, against ATK. Every game is tough. Jamshedpur have had a similarly close season to us. We haven't gotten enough points, yes. But during their unbeaten run, they were drawing a lot of games.”
The Englishman believes that factors like fixture congestions usually get evened out by the end of the season and he has no complaints about playing too many games in a short span of time.
“I don’t have a problem with the fixtures. Last season, we had a tough run of fixtures. They are facts when people talk about decisions, I am not going to moan about that. Fixtures have not been a problem. Other teams might get an equal amount of (bad) decision at a later stage in the season. We need to go and score some goals. 1-0, an Anas header will be fine,” said the Blasters boss.
Injuries have always caused problems for Kerala this season and the tie against Jamshedpur is no different. The former Liverpool custodian also spoke about how squad rotation is important in the long season ahead.
He said, “Nikola (Krčmarević) won't be available. It is one of those things, I think he stretched something. It was innocuous. Slaviša (Stojanović) and Courage (Pekuson) are both in training with a view of being available.”
“Bengaluru have made three changes to their starting lineup this season, which is phenomenal. Man City, the best team in England, possibly in Europe, have averaged two changes per game, I don't think they have fielded the same team in two consecutive games,” said James when quizzed about his heavily rotated starting lineups for each game.
James announced that the club will be looking to bring in a new player in the transfer window. With injuries rocking the team, one can expect Kerala to be active in the market.
“We will be looking to change some areas of the team. We have injuries which will force us to make changes. This wasn't a quick fix which will help KBFC dominate the ISL. The fact that we are close to being in a good position but not close enough means something has to change. We have got to make sure that we are changing things the right way. We will see. I think I will be forced into at least one change anyway.”