After two defeats in two games, the Kerala Blasters will be hoping for a change in fortunes when they play the Delhi Dynamos in their second home game. They went down to Atletico de Kolkata to a solitary goal in their last game and will be hoping to open their account in the points table. The Dynamos, on the other hand, come into the match after thrashing the defending champions Chennaiyin FC 3-1.
When asked whether there will be significant changes in the starting lineup for the Blasters tomorrow, head coach Steve Coppell replied, “I don’t think there will be significant changes but there will be changes. I think nature of the competition is such that it is very demanding and you have to evaluate individual and team performances and if you think you can improve you have to make changes so there will be few changes and we look forward to the game.”
Questions were asked whether the condition of pitches is influencing the gameplay and Coppell stated, “No not really, in an ideal world obviously it would be tight but everyone is working hard to try and lay the pitch properly but for various reasons I believe it’s not mature yet, the roots growth is not consistent enough but it’s same for both sides, it’s not affecting the style of play very occasionally people do lose their footing as you have seen and maybe that would be significant going forward but everybody work hard to repair the pitch after the game and is working hard to make it ready for tomorrow's match.”
No Michael Chopra for the Blasters so far this season
Coppell also shed light as to why Michael Chopra continued to remain absent from the starting lineup and about his versatility to play in different positions, “He is wise enough to play in number of roles, he can play right at the top, he can play in midfield and he is a player who is very astute. He knows the game and has played hundreds of games, recently he is injured I think his last full game was in last calendar year.
“He came to India a month early before our pre-season started and he has been working very hard on his fitness. I think that is beginning to play dividend, he is a valued member of the squad and I think he has got a significant role to play as the season develops.”
When asked whether the midfield is the area of concern for the Blasters, Coppell added, “I think at the moment we can improve in all the areas defensively we look fairly tight that’s for sure, midfield got a little bit detached on occasions and the strikers, we obviously need to improve on our scoring level. We can improve everywhere, we are working daily on the training ground and trying to improve individually and as a group.”
To the question on whether we will be seeing Josu Currais in a more attacking role in the next game, Coppell replied, “Well again I thought his range of pass is so significant when he sees the whole picture from the full-back position then he can pick passes out and perhaps be a more of influence. And good players can play anywhere and he is a good player. We are asking him to do a job at the moment and as a good professional he is saying ‘Yeah I can do that’ and against Kolkata, Doutie is obviously a very effective force for them, and he had a big job to do not only defensively and also he began to get involved in a lot of attacking moves as well.”
The coach also revealed that apart from the players who are out of the squad due to the club and national team commitments, local lad Prasanth will miss out on the next match due to injury.