Kerala Blasters' fan club Manjappada have thrown their weight behind coach Ivan Vukomanovic. The Serb had courted controversy after calling the team off the field in protest against a quickly-taken free-kick goal by Sunil Chhetri in the first knockout match of the ongoing ISL 2022-23.
Manjappada shared a statement on social media on Friday in which they have pointed out that Vukomanovic's decision was the culmination of a number of poor decisions against the Yellow Brigade and was not an emotional one.
"He has been one of the most professional coaches in ISL and if he took such a stand, he must have been really frustrated with the decisions," read Manjappada's statement.
The fans also made it clear that they want Vukomanovic at the helm and hoped that the controversy won't cost him his job.
"We hope to see Ivan Vukomanic continue as our coach. We will not entertain any effort to throw him under the bus and make him the scapegoat. He did this for our club and we hope the club stands by him in this difficult situation.
"And regarding the quality of refereeing, it is high time you clean up this mess. Clubs and fans have had enough. It's high time. Fix it," added the supporters.
Blasters' demand for a replay of their playoff against Bengaluru FC was quashed by the All India Football Federation's disciplinary committee and the Blues progressed to the semifinals.
Vukomanovic guided Blasters to the final in his debut season last year before taking them to playoffs this season.