We gifted Kerala Blasters FC some easy goals: Bengaluru FC's Simon Grayson
Bengaluru FC head coach Simon Grayson rued his side's mistakes and felt they should have shown the hunger from the first whistle itself as the Blues went down to Kerala Blasters FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Kochi, on Sunday.
The visitors got the first goal of the match through Sunil Chhetri's penalty but Kerala Blasters FC bounced back with goals from Marko Leskovic, Dimitrios Diamantakos, and substitute Apostolos Giannou. Javi Hernandez found the net late in the game but Bengaluru FC fell short in the end.
Grayson, who attended the post-match press conference, agreed that they didn't start well and their opening goal came against the run of play. Grayson further added that individual errors proved costly once again for the visitors and he called for his side to cut out their mistakes. The Bengaluru FC head coach further said he will continue to believe in his players and that they can still make their way further up the table.
Here are the excerpts:
Bengaluru FC started on the front foot but what went wrong after the first goal?
If I am being honest, We probably scored against the run of play. I thought Kerala Blasters FC started getting better and that is a big disappointment how they started in terms of how we allowed them to play. You have to make sure you do things out of possession better, win your individual battles, and pick up second balls. Win your tackles, win your headers. We didn't do enough of that in the first 20 minutes or so or even in the first half, but we got that opportunity and then we just kept making mistakes again. I keep saying in all my press conferences, no team really went and scored absolutely fantastic goals against us or played some amazing football to score goals. We kept giving the ball away or making individual mistakes, which is making it really difficult for us. At least in the second-half, we showed a lot more fight in and desire and hunger and we got back into the game. We have to show that passion and desire right from the first whistle.
All three goals conceded could have been avoided. How do you think you can make this better?
Individuals have to make sure that they don't make mistakes. We worked extremely hard on the training ground and especially in the last two performances (against FC Goa and ATK Mohun Bagan) our defensive side was really, really good. We kept the clean sheet and limited ATK Mohun Bagan to one opportunity, in which they scored a fantastic goal. But we didn't do that well enough tonight. Individuals didn't win the battles, didn't win the tackles. If you make mistakes, it doesn't matter who you are, you will get punished by the good footballers and Kerala Blasters FC are playing with a lot of confidence, with good footballers but we gifted them some easy goals tonight.
Is there something you want to rectify from the match?
We will work extremely hard on the training pitches and to make sure we cut out the individual mistakes and to make sure that we are better in possession of the ball and we work extremely hard on the training pitch. And sometimes you've got to make sure you ask the players. They've got to take responsibility. They've got to make sure that, are they doing the right things, are they assessing themselves before and after games. What do they need to do to be better players? Some are young players, it is a learning curve for them, playing in front of big crowds like tonight is a learning curve for them but football comes very quickly out there. You've got to learn on your feet and you've got to learn from your matches. We have to dust ourselves down and get ready now for next weekend to go and get in Jamshedpur FC
Is it a time for you to experiment more in your squad since the senior side is not performing well, is it time for the youngsters to step up?
We've got quite a few young players in the team anyway. When you look at Namgyal Bhutia and Naorem Roshan, they are young players, we brought Siva (Sivasakthi Narayan) on. We are wanting the experienced players to be better if possible in terms of coming and creating more opportunities for them, can they do more? It's about collectively the team and individuals within the team, whether young or old they have to do better to win football matches.
So I've got to get the right balance about winning football matches, whether it's really young players or old players experimenting or not. I'm going to find a way to keep believing in this group of players, which certainly I do. And we've got to make sure that we eradicate mistakes. We still can go on a very good run, we saw that in the second half tonight. We played very well, changing the system helped us, and the change of personnel helped us. But at least we showed a little bit more in the second half.
What has gone wrong with Roy Krishna as he scored only one goal so far in this season?
I said it the other day that good players don't become bad players overnight. Sunil Chhetri and Krishna's records are there for everybody to see and strikers go through lean spells but then they go through spells where they can't stop scoring and you see (Dimitrios) Diamantakos he is on a roll, five goals in five matches. We need one of our strikers to find a way in scoring. Obviously, that's within the framework of the team as well that we need to create more chances for them. But we've got the group and we have to work extremely hard to create chances for them, whoever is playing in the striker position and we will continue to do that.
It's almost halfway into the season. Where do you see this season going for Bengaluru FC?
Well, it's going to go one way and that's going to keep going up. There are enough games to go and run. We have to get back-to-back wins as quickly as possible to still try and get to where we want to get to. We're making it difficult for ourselves and keep saying week in and week out by making individual mistakes. But my belief is that we've got to keep working and the results will come with a bit of a fortune. Hopefully, somewhere down the line and additions of better players helps. Pablo Perez came off the bench tonight and made a real good impression. Javi Hernandez is now looking at full speed in terms of fitness with its quality. If we can do some work in January, that will probably help us as well.
Roshan is playing upfront in this season, which is a new role for him. Did you see that working?
He started his career as a winger, so he knows that position. You ask Roshan where he prefers playing and he prefers playing further up. He will play in any position but he is a young boy, he's got to learn from games like tonight and other games as well. Namgyal Bhutia is the same. Nice lads, really good footballers. But they gotta keep improving in whatever position they play. They have to find a way to keep improving. Coaching staff will keep working with them as well because I certainly believe Roshan and Bhutia are going to be two outstanding footballers, whatever position they play.
How do you think Pablo Perez will make an impact going forward?
He probably got a little bit longer than I expected him to do. He joined us last week and he only had three sessions after not playing any football for five-six months or something like that, but it was the need. He felt comfortable coming on (as a substitute). You saw his quality that he's got, running with the ball, finding the pass, composure and his versatility will play a big part, whether he plays as a number eight or attacking midfielder like tonight or close off the sides or down the middle; I think he's going to be a good addition because of his quality and he knows how experience he's got as a good footballer.
We've got to be really careful as well because if we throw him too quickly and if he breaks down, we could lose the player for a number of weeks, so I will put them in at the right time to start again, whether that's next weekend, weekend after or whatever. But you want good players available and it is just nice to have him here and he really enjoys it. He has settled in really well. I think we'll get the benefits of him over the next few weeks, for sure.
Do you think pairing him (Pablo Perez) up with Bruno Ramires would work for you?
I have got to find a permutation that's working and that will work. Bruno Ramires and Udanta Singh were injured, so two good players were not available today. I don't think there's been one game where we had full foreigners available for us and other players have been injured. We've got to find a permutation right to win football matches. We've got to find a solution and a way to win matches with whoever it is.