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It had lost its opening game; has not had a single training session on its home ground in Kochi. The squad is not quite balanced.
The odds are heavily stacked against Kerala Blasters as it takes on the mighty Atletico de Kolkata in its first home game of the Indian Super League’s Season III at the Nehru Stadium here on Wednesday evening.
New coach Steve Coppell was frank in his assessment of the team.
“I think it is a bit of a problem for this tournament because for a foreign coach coming in, you are more or less presented with a squad of players and you have to make the best out of the squad that is given,” said Coppell, the former England World Cupper, on Tuesday.
“The squad is not quite balanced. But we can make do, we will make do, we will be progressive with the selections that we make.”
The former Manchester United winger said that Blasters’ loss in the opener was down to first-match nerves.
“Now it’s our first home game and, hopefully, in a frenzied atmosphere with the crowd really supporting the team for the 90 minutes because we need the help,” said the Englishman.
The return of Spaniard Josue Currias Prieto, after one-match suspension, could sort out much of the problems in the midfield, an area where Blasters kept losing possession frequently in their last game.
However, despite Blasters banking on English gaffers and Kolkata relying on Spanish coaches, Coppell felt the match would not be a contest between English system and Spanish systems.
“I don’t think so. The first game, we were trying to play a more possession-based game, it didn’t work that night. The games I’ve seen so far are more high-tempo.
“I hope that we will be more high-tempo on Wednesday. We will try and match up against Kolkata and see what they have got to offer, we will try to attack as much as possible.”
Coppell spoke about the many strong points Kolkata had and the secret to being successful in the ISL.
“Kolkata have good players in (Helder) Postiga and (Iain) Hume and the players on the flanks are excellent.
“ I don’t think it’s any accident that Kolkata have been at the top for the last couple of years,” he said.
Meanwhile Jose Molina, the Kolkata coach, made it clear that he would be focusing on how to keep his boys fresh and strong for the second-round encounter.
“I think every team has its own strengths and weaknesses. The opposition always tries to look for that weakness.
“But the most important thing for me is to see that our players are fresh and recovered after the long flight and give their 100 per cent tomorrow.”