ISL 2018-19: David James has plans to muzzle Pune City attack

Kerala Blasters haven't won a game since their opening day victory against ATK (2-0) in the 2018-19 Indian Super League (ISL) season.

After three successive draws following that game, they now take on FC Pune City at the Balewadi Sports Complex on Friday.

In the build-up to the game, Kerala coach David James has refused to take Pune lightly despite the fact that the Stallions are yet to win their first match. 

"If football was easy to predict, then we probably don't need to play because we know what would happen. Pune have got some talented players and one of the best goalkeepers (Vishal Kaith) in the ISL," said the former Liverpool goalkeeper.

"It's not just about them keeping a clean sheet or not, it's about us not allowing them to score as well. If you look at their strike force, they have got a lot of potential there. We may need to score more than one goal," he added.

FC Pune City Kerala Blasters CK Vineeth

Despite conceding late goals becoming a problem of late, David James refused to blame his defence's concentration throughout the ninety minutes. After conceding late against Mumbai City and Delhi Dynamos, Blasters went 2-0 down against Jamshedpur FC before scripting a comeback.

"I think against Mumbai, it was one of those special goals when one of the players (Pranjal Bhumij) decides to go for a freak shot. It happens in the 90th minute (90+3') and it was deflating for us. I think Delhi scored in the 83rd minute (84') against us. It was off-side. I don't blame referee and the linesman for not getting it but it was just frustrating that someone didn't get it," he stated.

"The first 45 minutes against Jamshedpur was awful. I cannot pretend that it was any better. It was the worst that we played. However, we were a different team in the second half and that was very pleasing. There wasn't any complacency in the previous (Mumbai and Delhi) draws," James maintained.

FC Pune City Kerala Blasters

The 48-year-old also shared his thoughts on how he judges the evolution of the ISL from the inaugural season in 2014.

With regards to marquee players, he opined, "The marquee player earlier was someone old who had played a lot of football. The likes of Slav (Slavisa) and Mato (Matej Poplatnik) are a lot younger. Even Pune players have got years to play. So there is a better level of foreign players and the young Indian players have got experience with a better group of players.

"It was a bit like the wild west in 2014 where we didn't know what was going to happen," James went on to explain. "Now when we are training in Pune it's a good training facility. I think in 2014 we trained at a school somewhere. Now there are better facilities and the coaches involved are of a higher level. There's much more focus on the grassroots. It's like a holiday adventure which is now growing and developing. The level is picking up."