Kerala’s winless streak in the Indian Super League (ISL) continued after David James’s men failed to hold on to a 1-0 lead against NorthEast United and conceded two goals in injury time.
The Englishman hopes that the Southern Derby on Thursday against Chennaiyin FC will be the turning point for Kerala.
“We have had good discussions this week. The motivation is good, the realisation is there that we are not getting beaten by four and five goals. Our model was very different from ATK. We are looking at our future with young players. That’s what we are holding on to at the moment. We need one result to get that confidence about us. Being the Southern derby as well, what more do you want?
“I get a slight frustration that we lost to three best teams in the ISL. The losses to Bengaluru and Goa were acceptable to a point but the one against NorthEast United one was not. Holding on to a lead is a problem for us. It is due to our problems with player management, game management. I don’t think it is a fitness issue.”
James believes that desperation is never the answer and it can often lead to mistakes. The team has to maintain a high morale and remain confident to generate positive results.
“There’s nothing easy about football. Desperate is not the right word. Desperation leads you to do things you wouldn’t normally do. It’s more like frustrated. Goals conceded in the last 15 minutes have not helped. Those results change the confidence of the team. The team is feeling good. The morale is good and we are holding on to that. We have some proud fans who want us to win. The players are also like that. As a manager, it is hard for me. We are not getting battered by teams but just narrow defeats.”
Local boy CK Vineeth has been at the end of a lot of flak for his recent performances but James jumped to his player’s support and mentioned that he must be kept motivated.
“I’m unaware of any frustrations with CK Vineeth. Of course, most of my players have had chances to do something in the games. As a manager, all I can do is keep him enthused and hope that he can create.”
“Loken (Meitei) and Slavisa Stojanovic are not in (the team against Chennaiyin). I trust the team I put out are good enough to win the match.”