ANI Photo | Want to carry positive mindset for playoffs: Kerala Blasters FC’s Ivan Vukomanovic

Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic wants his side to continue their winning run at home as they host Hyderabad FC in their final league game of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Kochi, on Sunday.
The Yellow Army have already cemented their place in the playoffs despite losing their last two away games. Vukomanovic has set his sights on claiming three points in their final league game as he is determined to maintain their winning streak at home and go into the playoffs with a positive approach.
“We want to be in full power for the last game (against Hyderabad FC), especially because we have the obligation to play in front of our fans and then carry that positive mindset for the playoffs,” Vukomanovic said in the pre-match press conference.
Kerala Blasters FC haven’t lost a single point at home since their defeat 2-0 to Mumbai City FC in October. Vukomanovic feels playing in front of the home fans always motivates his side and this will be no different when they face another tough test against Hyderabad FC.
“It (playing in front of home fans) means a lot to all of us and we will get this kind of motivation on Sunday as well. We want to be a strong unit and show why we are unbeaten for a long time at home. We want to continue and achieve that on Sunday. We face a strong side, our opponent from last season’s final. We have to be on top (of our game) and (do) our best if we want to get a point,” the head coach stated.
Kerala Blasters FC are currently sitting fifth in the ISL standings. They need to win their final game against the defending ISL champions and hope that ATK Mohun Bagan drop points in the Kolkata derby to ensure a spot in the top four. That will ensure them a playoff tie at home. However, despite their poor run of form in away games, the Serbian tactician expects a strong support from their supporters, irrespective of wherever they have to play.
“Playoffs require a different mindset. The first game is a knockout and you don’t have the mind for calculations. You have to fight and thanks to our fans we have a feeling at times playing away felt like playing home,” Vukomanovic said.
“For us, it doesn’t change a lot sometimes, whenever you play you see the yellow sea. So it’s about full power and full motivation playing home or away. Playing in Kochi every time is something special. It means a lot to all of us,” he added.
The home side will be without Rahul KP after the winger received his marching orders in the last game against ATK Mohun Bagan. The 22-year-old has picked up six yellow cards and one red card in 18 appearances this season. But Vukomanovic is not much worried about the young forward’s temperament, and rather feels he will learn from these mistakes.
“First of all it always goes with the player’s character. Rahul (KP) is a fighter, you see in his eyes and he doesn’t like to lose. He wants to fight for every ball. He’s still young and growing up and experiencing certain things during the game which are good or less good. As a football player, there’s an adrenaline rush kicking out in your blood and he knew the same moment he did it, it was a mistake and it’s part of football. We talked about it (the red card) and he realised his mistake,” Vukomanovic explained. (ANI) 

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