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ISL 2018-19: Kerala Blasters' David James - NorthEast United surprised everybody with their performance

5:23 PM GMT+4 22/11/2018
Kerala Blasters
David James suggested that the ISL transformed brilliantly over the years and it is now ‘unrecognisable’ from what it was in season one...

After registering just one win out of the first seven matches, under pressure Kerala Blasters will seek three points against in-form NorthEast United on Friday in Guwahati.

Speaking on his side’s form, Blasters coach David James said, “Football is about winning games and (we have to) qualify for the playoffs. Our performances have been decent enough except for one match which is the Goa game where we didn’t perform well enough. Goa are very good side. You have to accept on some occasions that some teams are better than you.

“The other six games including the Bengaluru game we had decent performances. We always want to win games, want to qualify and win the ISL. The way we structured our recruitment was more of a longer term rather than instant hit. We aim all three points tomorrow.”

When asked why young goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem was benched after starting in the first two matches, James explained, “The decision to bench Dheeraj after two matches were down to situations in training. He received a slight knock so Naveen came in and played quite well. We have 25 players and there will rotations from time to time. Both keepers are kept in the side with the intention to play them from time to time.”

The English coach gave his opinion on how ISL transformed over the years. He said, “I think the league is almost unrecognisable. Year one was a wonderful adventure. There were certain challenges but now the setup has completely changed and it is wonderful. We have a lot of fresh talents who are not necessarily household names from yesteryears. They are fresh and ready to go. Things have gone much better.”

The Kerala gaffer heaped praise on opponents NorthEast United and said, “I think NorthEast United surprised everybody with their performance. Over the years there have been a lot of changes in the playing style. Their recruitments have proved to be good so far and they are in a good position.”