ISL: Kerala desparate for win against Pune (Preview)

Kochi, Nov 3 (IANS) Currently parked at the bottom of the points table, Kerala Blasters will aim for a much needed win when they take on table toppers FC Pune City in an Indian Super League (ISL) encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Wednesday.

Kerala are winless in their last sixes matches which has seen them drop to the bottom with a mere five points from seven matches. Pune currently lead the table with 13 points from seven matches.

However, Kerala’s position on the points table is not a true indicator of their quality as they have created several chances in every match but has not been able to convert.

They played well in the 1-1 stalemate against Chennaiyin FC in their last match. The runners-up of last year’s inaugural edition should have sealed a well-deserved victory, but poor finishing by the Kerala forwards — and the crossbar on one occassion — came to Chennaiyin’s rescue.

Kerala have conceded 10 goals so far as opposed to eight scored and at the pre-match press conference their newly-appointed coach Terry Phelan was of the opinion that building confidence was important in overcoming that shortcoming.

“Yes, we have conceded goals and players have been switching off. We have to build confidence in the players so that they don’t make such mistakes me and (assistant coach) Trevor (Morgan) have been working on that,” Phelan told reporters here on Tuesday.

The former Ireland defender also shed light on how the training sessions has been going under his supervision.

“We have to stay positive, I’ve got great staff along with me; we have got Trevor with us also which is great. He knows the players a little bit better than me obviously but the self-esteem and motivation is already there among the players. They are responding well to the training sessions and having fun.”

Morgan meanwhile, said worrying about other teams’ strengths wasn’t going to help.

“We can’t keep worrying about other teams, we have to now take the game to them and show them what we’ve got.

“We have got seven games remaining and we’ve got to win five or four, draw three. I can’t bring anything negative into the game. We have to go forward now, we hope that every game we play we win that game. We have to be solid defensively as well.

“In the last game we did very well…we were handling the game well. If there was any team that could win the last match I thought it was us, we just have to keep forward with the right mind,” he added.

Pune coach David Platt on the other hand, is not setting much store by the positions of the two sides on the ISL table.

“They played well in their last 90 minutes with Chennai. See, positions of the teams are irrelevant. It’s going to be a difficult game whichever way you look at it,” he said.

Pune are mostly playing away over the next few weeks and when asked if travelling could undermine their position in the top half of the table, Platt said, “No it is not a concern for us right now since we are first but yes we need a few points to cement our place in the top four.

“Every game that we played has been tight it could have gone either way. I do know that the team has been showing a lot of character at the moment which reflects our position. They’ve managed to turn around a lot of games. We have a group of players that believes in itself and we have full confidence in them as well. It is not a concern that the matches coming our way are away matches. My concern is tempered by our current position.”

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