ISL 2017-18: Kerala Blasters’ David James - Dimitar Berbatov trained with youngsters

The Kerala Blasters coach mentioned that his players are much fitter since he has taken charge earlier this month…

Dimitar Berbatov hasn’t been in action for Kerala Blasters since he picked up an injury against Delhi Dynamos earlier this month. The former Manchester United striker has been on the sidelines and coach David James was asked to share an update regarding the Bulgarian’s situation.

“Berbatov hasn't been forgotten. I know he hasn't played. He trained today with a younger group. The report was that he was quite amazing.  The players who aren't involved and it is important that they are part of the group not just for their footballing ability,” said the former Manchester City goalkeeper.

Deepender Singh Negi, who was the former India Under-19 skipper, put in a splendid performance in the second half to help his side do the double over Delhi Dynamos.

“No (Not surprised). We had to make changes today. Deep has been one of the many youngsters who has shown promise. Deep is one who I didn't know much about. He hasn't played many minutes. He ran his socks off.  I think the game demanded a player of his skill. I am not worried about his age.  He deserved his chance and he did very well,” said James.

Kerala Blasters FC Delhi Dynamos FC ISL 4 2017/2018

He pointed that Blasters are a fitter unit since he has been at the helm. He also praised new striker Gudjon Baldvinsson for the impact he had in the latter half of the game.

“We knew what the task was, six wins and still, we may not qualify. But the group don't want to give up. We are fitter now than we were when we took over. There were still very tired players out there today. He (Baldvinsson) started to enjoy himself, he had a good game,” he mentioned.

Kerala Blasters started with only three foreigners in their line-up and James was asked to explain his decision.

“We weren't going to play that formation or that lineup. It was decided five minutes before that (a player who was deemed to start) wasn't going to be fit enough to play. However, formations are one thing but it’s how you employ your tactics and play. I have confidence in every player that we got. So Karan (Sawhney) came in. I am not even thinking whether they are foreign or Indian,” he reasoned.

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Blasters approached East Bengal to make a move for Gurwinder Singh however, the Red and Gold brigade weren’t keen to let go of their centre-back.

“I have come at a very major transition period in Indian football. Next year, I believe the Indian players will become free agents rather than getting them from drafts.

“Of course, we will be looking at other players from other clubs, because we can. In a sense, yes. But not necessarily that player (winks). The transfer window is open. If Kizito (Keziron)  is unavailable, we will look to use it (the transfer window)."