Kerala Blasters would to look avenge their humiliating defeat in the first leg when they take on FC Goa in an Indian Super League match in Kochi on Sunday. Kerala Blasters had a poor start to their campaign winning just one of their first seven matches that led to the sacking of head coach Rene Meleusteen.
Former England goalkeeper David James, who was the marquee-cum-coach of the Blasters in 2014 has managed to provide hope to the team with seven points from the four matches that he has been in-charge.
They bagged seven points from the first three games that James was in the technical dug-out but were pegged back by Jamshedpur FC in their last game. Now, they have a chance to make further progress and also avenge their 2-5 defeat in Goa.
“We might have the same players but we are now a different team to when we last met. We had a very good trip around India. I was delighted with what I saw, even in defeat. There were a lot of positives,” said James.
It will not be easy for the Blasters to beat the free-flowing FC Goa team particularly with Spanish forwards Ferran Corominas and Manuel Lanzarote in fine form. James, however, said they can measure up to the challenge with support from the massive crowd.
“The first thing in football is to understand the result and know why you lost or won. I was not there at that time but the players understand what they are doing now. My focus is to get the players ready. This is yet another tough match for us but we have to go for three points,” said James.
FC Goa too know the turnaround the Blasters have managed over the last four games. It certainly will not be as easy as their previous outing against the Blasters at Fatorda. Ferran Corominas scored the fastest hat-trick in the ISL as Blasters were all at sea.
“What happened in the past is the past. We will not focus there. If we think the game will be similar to what happened in Goa, we will be mightily confused. Regardless of where we play, whether it’s home or away, all teams are equally balanced,” said FC Goa chief coach Sergio Lobera.
The big concern for FC Goa, who are placed fourth with 16 points from nine matches, has been their defence as they have been unable to keep a clean sheet so far in the league.
The defence has crumbled under the slightest pressure and coach Lobera admitted they have work to do, although their attacking style won’t be compromised.
“We are not going to give up on our offensive style of football but we will try and find the defensive balance when we play tomorrow,” said Lobera.