Kerala Blasters’ Kibu Vicuna – Mastermind Behind the Plot

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Kibu Vicuna sworn in as a replacement for Eelco Schattorie as the head coach of Kerala Blasters just after winning the I-league with Mohun Bagan.

The merger of his former club with ISL Champions ATK and Antonio Hapas was appointed as the head coach of the new club. However, their former coach Vicuna caught the eyes of a club which had not yet experienced winning a trophy.

Additionally, the manager has brought in some major adjustments in his tactical play. Let’s have a look at his tactical evolution!

A dream came true for Kibu Vicuna at Mohun Bagan:

In May 2019, Kibu signed one year deal as Mohun Bagan coach. However, he did face many setbacks initially such as the final loss to Durand Cup to I-league competitors Gokulam Kerala.

The former Osasuna and Legia Warsaw assistant manager, however, guided his team to I-League triumph. The club lost just one match and won 12 out of 16 matches in the league.

He brought a new brand of football in India with possession being the key part. The 23-pass goal in Mohun Bagan’s 3-0 away win to Churchill Brothers Goa surely described the quality of his team.

He mostly used a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3 formation and Fran Gonzalez was one of the key players in his possessive style of play. The arrival of Baba Diawara, former Sevilla striker, was detrimental in the Mariners’ triumph.

Gonzalez used to drop deep whenever the team needed to defend and to maintain possession. His tactics at the Kolkata team a little bit resembles Pep Guardiola’s tactics of most short passes and no messing about possession.

Overloads are created after one of the centre-backs become a free player. Joseba Beitia performed this role perfectly. Kibu Vicuna successfully employed extreme use of half-space, use of triangles as well as rotations to create space.

A different style of play at Kerala Blasters:

Kibu Vicuna made a big decision taking charge at Kerala Blasters. The club he joined now has no trophies but a bigger supporter base as well as one of the biggest clubs in Asia as per followers on Social media.

It was a pretty big challenge for the tactician and he started with the same tactics (4-2-3-1 formation, with Gary Hooper as the lone striker). However, the results didn’t repeat by then as his side lost to his former side ATK Mohun Bagan by 1-0.

The entire new set of players and no pre-league fixtures as compared to last season. However, the coach kept his tactics the same till the crucial must-win match against Hyderabad FC.

Vicuna tested with 4-3-3 as well as 4-4-1-1 formations. However, the latter formation started to bring some results with a new attacking pair of Hooper and Jordan Murray.

The tactics had a major evolution. Instead of many short passes and possession, Vicuna now opted for long passes and quality counter-attacks.

He could become the first-ever coach in the history of Indian football to win an I-League and an ISL if he achieves this in his current club.

The young players like Rahul KP, Jeakson Singh and Sahal Abdul Samad are doing pretty good under his guidance. However, the coach is not thinking right now abouth the title or the playoffs!

“We are happy that we are close (to the top four) after the last game but we are focusing on the next game.”

Kibu Vicuna

The Yellow Brigade next play Jamshedpur FC on Wednesday evening in a mouthwatering must-win match to reach the playoffs.

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