ISL 2017: Coach Rene Meulensteen hints at 'surprise' in Kerala Blasters lineup vs ATK
Kerala Blasters take on ATK in the ISL season opener tomorrow
The curtains will be raised for the latest edition of ISL tomorrow, as the Kerala Blasters will take on ATK at Kochi. Both the teams are heavyweights in the tournament and the fans will witness a mouthwatering clash tomorrow night. The mangers of both the teams where excited about their first experience of Indian Super League.
Kerala Blasters coach René Meulensteen said that Kerala will have an exciting season ahead. He added, "ISL has proved for last three years, and have grown far from where it started. It has attracted a lot of good foreign players and a lot of foreign coaches and the quality of Indian players has also improved in these three years."
When asked about Kerala Blasters not winning against ATK, Rene said "Past is past. This season we are starting from the scratch, both the teams have new players new coach so it will be a new start for both the teams."
On Berbetov joining Kerala Blasters, Meulensteen said, "Berbetov is a top player and has played in top professional environment like EPL and Champions League, and his presence can help the Indian players reach that level of professionalism."
A number of the Kerala Blasters players had to miss out on the pre-season, as they had to join the India national team camp ahead of the Blue Tigeers' Asain Cup qualifier against Myanmar. Although Meulensteen rued the fact that his players had to leave during the pre-season, he did praise India head coach Stephen Constantine for his good work with the side.
However, when asked about the combination that he is planning to go with, against ATK tomorrow, Meulensteen gave a rather curious reply: "Tomorrows line up is a surprise."
ATK coach Teddy Sheringham, on the other hand, was pleased with the squad he has at his disposal, and said that the squad had progressed a lot in the six-week preseason.
When asked about how him and his players are preparing to stop star Kerala striker Dimitar Berbatov, he said, "They liked to enjoy (watching) Berbetov play, but surely don't want to enjoy that tomorrow."
Teddy added that Berbatov, Wes Brown, Iain Hume and Robbie Keane are past their prime, but has enough quality to play good football and inspire young players from India.