Gokulam Kerala FC head coach, Vincenzo Alberto Annese has reiterated that his side will not take anything for granted as they head into their final Group D game of the AFC Cup 2022 against Bashundhara Kings on Tuesday, 24 May.
Gokulam Kerala started their tournament in the best possible way when they thrashed fellow Indian side, ATK Mohun Bagan 4-2, but then suffered a shock 1-0 loss to Maziya last Saturday, in what was a big blow for the Kerala-based club.
Annese is hoping for one last push from his side as he knows that nothing but a win will suffice for them if they are to maintain their hopes of qualifying for the inter-zone playoff semi-finals as only one team from Group D will make it to the next round.
"Facing Bashundhara Kings will be totally different as the emotional factor for this game will be important. A lot of my players are finishing their contract terms so we are extremely motivated to give our all in the final group game," he said ahead of the game.
“Bashundhara Kings have been champions many times in Bangladesh and if you see in the last game the team had quality players in each position. They are physically stronger than Maziya and have many national team players. It’s a huge advantage for them," the Italian added.
The Italian also reiterated that his side must be more proactive in attack, especially as they suffered a dip in performance during their loss to Maziya. Gokulam have had a grueling schedule in the recent past, having come into the tournament after defending their I-League title.
"We were fatigued against ATK and Maziya and in this next game we need to start with a different approach seeing that we have enough rest. Our mentality must be attacking from the start and we need to create space and play the ball forward.
“The reality is that we have played seven matches in 21 days. To keep our players free from injury and to get enough rest has been difficult. But our focus will be on tomorrow, it has to be a day we give our all. The expectation, the energy, the emotion, fighting for each ball, we have to perform at a 100 percent. What the heart wants is to win the match tomorrow," he concluded.
The Italian's side will face Bangladesh's, Bashundhara Kings on Tuesday, 24 May at the Salt Lake Stadium.