Mixing it up a bit now because the season is over halfway through so instead of putting the press conferences within the match preview like we have been doing, they’ll now have their own article, we’re nice like that you see. Two Englishman go head-to-head in Jamshedpur as David James’ in-form Kerala Blasters take on Steve Coppell’s Jamshedpur. Much like any ISL game, it could go either way. Let’s see what they both had to say, starting with Coppell:
“Kerala Blasters won back to back games before coming here. David James has had a significant impact on the team. The nature of the team is different so the preparation we made three weeks ago is different from the preparation we are taking now. We are preparing to play against a top quality side. We are desperate to win at home. It is a priority to win home matches. I am hoping it will be a fabulous game.”
I hate the fact that he’s used desperate, but then he’s won some points back by saying fabulous. He is right though, Kerala are quality at the moment, a completely different beast under James. He then said that, but didn’t use the word beast which I guess means I win!
Kerala are a different team
“This will be a different kind of a game. We have Wellington Priori available. His paper works are done. Kerala are a different team now under David James.”
Priori was a strange signing for me, the last thing they needed was another defensive player and everything I have read suggests he’s a defensive player. Most bizarre. With Iheanacho scoring the first goal in England decided by VAR yesterday, Coppell touched on the use of it in India:
“Personally, I am in favour of video review (VAR). Why ignore it? Every game is televised, so many cameras in use I don’t know why we don’t use the technology. It has been introduced in England. It has earned positive reviews in general. It is inevitable that VAR will come in and certainly in such conditions when referees are regularly questioned. Why not use video evidence and help them?”
He’s got a point. Coppell’s team lost 2-1 to Goa last time out and both goals were more than questionable and if VAR was in place, neither would have stood. He continued:
“The league is trying to help the Indian referees. At the moment there is a team of English referees who have come here and are helping the Indian referees. Steps are being taken. Referees do need support.”
That’s a step in the right direction at least. Coppell then finished by turning into Liam Neeson as he chose to give nothing away:
“We have a couple of injury issues. I won’t reveal the names. Anas is back, he had a family emergency so he didn’t play against Goa. He has not trained much so I have to see if he will start tomorrow,”
If Anas is fit, that will mean leaving out Bikey probably which I think would be a big mistake as it was very evident from the Mumbai game that they need the ex-Reading man at the back. Time will tell.
James, who has yielded seven points from his first three games in charge of Kerala called the two wins vital:
“The two wins were vital. The second game against Mumbai was mentally and physically tough. 1-0 is my favourite scoreline because you are always on edge but can drain you somewhat. Confidence is in the team at the moment. We are looking forward to the match”,
One of the main talking points leading up to this game is what will Kerala do with their starting XI as they only played on Sunday…
“With the ISL, there is a tendency to change the starting lineups and it is very difficult to predict what you are going to get but there is a lot of energy in the Jamshedpur team and therefore we expect an energetic match. They’ve got a tremendous defence and we are not blessed with hundreds of chances in the game but we have been very efficient with our finishing in the last couple of games. We expect a very difficult game again.”
There’s no magic to it
Hmm, not really giving us much there, David. However, he does put to bed the rumours circling about him being a master of the dark arts:
“There’s no magic to it. We have got the team organised and have the staff behind us. Not just myself, there are other coaches, the masseuses, doctors. Everyone is involved and committed to giving the players on the field the best chance of winning games of football and the players are dedicated too, which is always good.”
No wizardry, unfortunately. James had a slightly different viewpoint around the officials than that of his opposing coach:
“Ultimately, we are four seasons into the ISL and expecting the referees to say like the standard of the Premier League while the football isn’t is asking too much. It will improve, the consistency should be for every referee to referee the way that he is. Players, coaches and even commentators know what they expect from the referee each game then it should be up to the governing body to appoint him in the future.”
I do agree with you James, but the standard isn’t at non-league level, let alone anywhere close to Premier League and that’s the real issue at hand here. He finished by saying he doesn’t want video technology because it will take too much time up, which I can understand but I feel he’s only saying after the controversial nature of Hume’s goal last time out.
“No chance (of introducing VAR in ISL). Goal-line technology yes, because that is what the teams are working for; if it crosses the line, it should be a goal. VAR is asking for more indecision, more time taken. When we had an issue in the last game when there was a lot of complaints with the goal. The freekick was actually taken from a yard where the incident happened even though the player fell 10 yards further away. Perfectly good but it caused a debate and football is about discussion and debate rather than a fourth eye making a decision for you”,
No, it wasn’t a yard in front of it at all, but you’ve obviously got your Kerala tinted glasses on. Let’s see how you feel if Jamshedpur get a goal that is offside later on.
In the style of Looney Tunes, that’s all folks.