KOCHI: ‘Adaptability, thy name is Gianluca Zambrotta.’ A moment of Shakespearean inspiration might have had Kerala Blasters FC coach Steve Coppell saying just that about his Delhi Dynamos FC counterpart.
For nothing worries Blasters more than how their woefully imbalanced squad can adapt to the demands of performing in positions where players have been pitchforked by chance, rather than by choice. Consider this: Josue Prieto Currais became an instant hit with Blasters fans in the very first game last season, after scoring with a stunning volley against NorthEast United FC from an attacking midfielder’s role. This year, against the same opponents, fans found the same player taking up the left full-back’s position.
“Good players can play anywhere,” asserted Coppell, a former Manchester United and England winger. If the Blasters coach needed an example to buttress that point, he need not have looked beyond Zambrotta — the Italian World Cup winner who, in his time, could switch flanks like fish taking to the water. “It’s very important that in one team you have some players who can adapt to different schemes,” said Zambrotta.
With limited options, the Blasters need to make that philosophy a reality if they are to challenge for honours in ISL 3.
“Midfield got a little detached on occasions,” admitted Coppell, even while praising his defense for being ‘fairly tight’. And how Sandesh Jhinghan has had to shift from left back to right back to centre back!
“We can improve everywhere, we know that. Each and every player individually is working to improve, and as a team, we want to attack together and defend together,” added the experienced manager.