Kochi, Nov 9 (IANS) Last year’s finalists Kerala Blasters and Atletico de Kolkata find themselves in the bottom half of the points table and will aim for a win to overturn their woes in an Indian Super League (ISL) football tournament here on Tuesday.
Atletico defeated Blasters 1-0 in the final of the tournament last year. But in the second edition of the league this term, both the teams are struggling. Atletico have three points from the last five matches and are placed sixth with 10 points from eight matches.
Blasters haven’t had a good start either, and despite the revival sparked after the arrival of induction of new head coach Terry Phelan, they find themselves placed at the bottom of the table with eight points from as many matches. It’s not an ideal situation for both teams but as they face each other in a crucial ninth round clash, they are aware that they can still turn it around.
“Every game is a big game. Every game we go into we have to go into it with the right attitude. We will be going into this game with the right attitude to get three points. If you can manage two or three wins, it will propel you to the top half. We are very confident that we can go out there and grab the three points,” Blasters chief coach Phelan said on Monday.
Blasters will be encouraged by their performance in the last game where they easily accounted for FC Pune City, who were leading the table at that time. There is not much separating all the teams and assistant coach Trevor Morgan said they are very much in the race for a place in the semi-finals. “It’s not where we are that counts. In three weeks, we could be in a completely different position. One or two wins can propel a team higher up. At the moment, no team is pulling away. There is no huge gap. There is a seven point gap between top and bottom which can be turned around with two wins,” Morgan said in the press conference.
Atletico are also facing tough times and have been hampered due to injuries to marquee player Helder Postiga, captain Josemi and midfielder Javi Lara. “We have had three very important players injured. It’s too much of a problem for the team. I have confidence in my players and we have to work every day,” said Habas during the pre-match media briefing.
“Both of us have been in similar positions this season. Kerala wants to win right now and we also want to win. Both of us need a win but we have the time to cover the position in the league. We have to be calm and not be nervous. Being nervous cannot get you anything,” added Habas, whose team lost to NorthEast United FC in their previous match.