Kerala Blasters' woeful season is showing no signs of taking a positive turn as Nelo Vingada’s men continue their pursuit for their second win this season.
The Portuguese was happy with the team’s performance against ATK last week and hopes that they will make life hard for the league leaders on Wednesday. He said, “The remaining matches? I only look at the next match. It is the most important match. The past is done. I need to see what’s wrong and try to get better and better in the next match.
"I hope that we can go up by one or two positions. Now we need to look at recovering the confidence. I was happy that we had a good game against ATK. We created good chances and the attitude was very positive.
“Our performance in the first half of the second game was not so good. I will have to look at it. After Bengaluru, I have nine days before we go to Goa. I hope that it is enough time to sit and try something.”
“With these players, we need to perform better, and I will find a good combination of players for the Super Cup. It is tough but we can fight to win.”
With a spot in the playoffs out of the question, the players are bound to be demotivated. But Vingada feels otherwise. The gaffer wants to instil the competitive spirit in the players and ensure that they play for pride in the remaining games.
“We are playing with the symbol of Kerala Blasters on our heart, so we have to feel pride. Money comes and goes, sometimes you can spend and sometimes you can’t. But dignity is something that can’t be spent or lost. I want to feel pride in the players even when they are not playing so well. I want to bring that strong competitive spirit.
“The future target is to recover from this season, but right now, I want the team to perform well against Bengaluru.
“I don’t know about next season. I don’t know if I will be the manager next season. Right now, my focus is on what we can do in this season,” Vingada said.
Suspensions and injuries have made life difficult for the visitors. Vingada admitted that there could be a lot of shuffling for Kerala’s game against Bengaluru. The Portuguese also spoke about Anas Edathodika’s injury and mentioned that resting the defender for the Goa tie could be the best call.
“Some of the players have physical trauma from the Delhi game, but it’s not serious. Another player has been sick, but he has still travelled. If we were playing the game today, we would need 4-5 changes. But we have time until tomorrow, so we will have to see what happens. Lalruatthara can’t play, so we will be making one change for sure. But we might need to make several changes as I prefer to play with players at their 100 per cent rather than 70 or 80 per cent.”
“The first approach from Kerala was done when I was in Dubai. I had gone to watch India vs Bahrain. When I saw the India line-up, I was happy to see some Kerala players. I could not see Anas as he was taken off after two minutes because of the hamstring injury. I don’t think he will be playing here tomorrow. I brought him here with me so that he can be with the team. If possible, he could play for 10-15 minutes. But I think it would be better to rest him for nine days and see if he is fit for the Goa game,” Vingada concluded.