The Spanish boss explained that it will take a few games before teams hit their top form…
Bengaluru FC have got the better of FC Goa on most occasions in the previous editions of the Indian Super League (ISL), but Carles Cuadrat thinks that things could change this season as the Gaurs have a new coach along with some fresh faces in the squad. The Bangalore-based outfit will face FC Goa in their opening game of the ISL season this Sunday in what promises to be an exciting tie.
“It is a very big challenge. They won the (League) Shield last season. They have worked on the squad as they will play in the AFC Champions League. They will surely be a tough opponent. Goa have a complete squad with a new coach. That means he will have new ideas. They have new foreigners as well. The challenge for Goa squad has been to prepare well and hope they have studied us well. We are ready for anything. I don’t know (Juan) Ferrando personally. But Spanish coaches are tactically sound. They will have a plan for us. It could be a very tactical game,” stated the Spaniard.
Cuadrat, who led Bengaluru FC to their first ISL title in the 2018-19 season, believes that it would be too much to expect teams to flourish from the very first round and it could take up to a month to hit top gear.
“All the teams are not arriving in the best condition in the first round of games. There are players who have arrived late, maybe due to visa problems. The fans have to wait maybe, one more month to watch better performances. It takes time and we completely understand. ATK Mohun Bagan started from October 1 and they had seven-to-eight weeks of pre-season. That is good for them. But surely all teams will play better in the coming weeks.
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“It should be an open game. The teams are not in the best of physique. The games will not have the same intensity as we had in January or February. The humidity is also a problem. The Covid restrictions are also there. It has affected all of us,” explained Cuadrat.
But Cuadrat seemed to be reasonably happy with his team’s preparations during the pre-season. However, he mentioned that it’s important for the players to not always think and talk about football.
“When we work in pre-season, we do two sessions. There was no big difference this season as well. We go from the hotel to the pitch and back. It was the same. Only thing is that it has been a short pre-season. But the situation will get more complicated in the next few weeks. When the footballers will not be able to talk with the family face-to-face. They will be around the same people discussing the same issues. We have to be smart and have to manage the situation well. We have to relax and not think only about football. To perform well you have to be in good physical, mental and technical shape. As part of the technical team, we are trying to give the best to the players.”
Bengaluru struggled to score goals in the previous campaign and to make amends they have signed strikers like Kristian Opseth and Thai League’s all-time leading goalscorer Cleiton Silva. The coach emphasized that his team has worked on their finishing skills as part of their pre-season preparation.
“One more year we are challenging for trophies. The previous year was not good enough. Although we had good results in different aspects. We were the team who created the most number of chances. But it was about scoring goals. We have been planning and practising to get more prolific and clinical. Kerala (Blasters) had two options but they didn’t get the goal and ATK were more clinical. Football is decided by narrow margins.
“The players know what we expect from them. The new players are doing a good job. The defenders understand what we demand from them and they are going to be important for us.”
Dimas Delgado did not take part in the two-friendlies that they played as part of preparations but Cuadrat informed that he is available for the game despite having a small muscle issue.
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