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Playing for Kerala Blasters the most challenging thing in ISL, says Ivan Vukomanovic

The final ISL 2022-23 league match between Kerala Blasters and Hyderabad FC will take place on February 26 in Kochi.

Playing for Kerala Blasters the most challenging thing in ISL, says Ivan Vukomanovic

Aswathy Santhosh

Published: 25 Feb 2023 11:24 AM GMT

Hyderabad FC have qualified for the semi-finals for the second consecutive time but the job is not done says Manolo Marquez. "After the defeat against Jamshedpur FC we need to finish with good feelings. The opponents in our semi final played or will play now the last game in the regular season and will play another hard game to qualify. Then they will arrive in very good conditions."

"We have to at least be in the same level of the opponent and we need to train hard to play a good game against Kerala Blasters. We will have another 10 days to prepare for the game."

Manolo Marquez and Ivan Vukomanovic have each other's respect and appreciation. "I know Ivan, he is a winner. In this kind of situation, he would want to win in front of the fans of Kerala. For sure, they will try to win. I think that they will play with the main team", says the Spaniard.

Adrian Luna who played almost every minute of the competition missed the last game against ATK Mohun Bagan due to suspension but he is not a fan of missing games to get rest.

"It's always important for a player to have like four or five days off. But I never want to miss a game. I think we played a really good game, but okay, we made some mistakes and we lost the game. But for me, it was important to rest these four days," the forward said.

Young winger Rahul K P has picked up 8 yellow cards this season and a red card against the Mariners raising criticism from the fans. However, his coach backs the local lad.

"Rahul is a fighter. You can see in his eyes, he is a fighter and he doesn't like to lose. He's still young growing up, experiencing certain things during the game. We talked, and he realized that it was a mistake, and I hope that it will stay in his mind for the future," Ivan revealed.

Ivan Vukomanovic have an unbeaten streak at home but he knows that facing Hyderabad FC is no easy job.

"Every time playing in Kochi, there's something special, and it means a lot to the players, going from the warm up to getting out of the tunnel for the game, it means a lot to all of us. With that kind of motivation tomorrow as well, we want to be a strong unit, a strong part, and show that there is a reason why we were unbeaten for a long time at home.

Tomorrow we face a strong team, our opponent from our last season finals, they are again second year in a row in the playoffs as well. Good team who the individuals and we will have to be on our best if we want to get points."

Ivan Vukomanovic concluded by adding how important consistency in building proper leadership at clubs. "In the past, we have witnessed so many changes in the team. Every player needs at least 3, 4 months when they come to the club to adapt. The most difficult thing in this league is playing for Kerala Blasters, we have to manage the emotions".

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