Albert Roca: Time to be humble and work harder with the right mentality
Bengaluru FC struck two injury-time goals to inflict a 2 – 0 defeat on Kerala Blasters FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday. Miku and Udanta Singh scored for the Blues, as they finished the league-phase with a record-breaking tally of 40 points and an impressive run of being unbeaten in eight consecutive games.
After registering their 13th victory of the season, Bengaluru’s head coach Albert Roca addressed the media during the post-match press conference. The Spaniard began by pointing out that winning even after missing two of their key foreign defenders made the result even more satisfying. “Due to the suspensions of John Johnson and Juanan, we had to do something different that would give us the win,” he said. “It was a good performance as I don’t remember Kerala having any shots on target. So, I would like to congratulate the defence and all the players.”
The league debutants have qualified for the semi-finals as the league toppers, but Roca was wary of getting complacent. “This is the most difficult part of the season,” he remarked. “We have finished on top with a lot of points, but the pressure is on us. Now, it’s time to be humble and work harder with the right mentality. These wins help us with the confidence, but we do not have a lot of days to prepare right now. So, we must have the right mentality.”
The 55-year-old singled out captain Sunil Chhetri and lauded him for his performance throughout the season. “I am very happy with Sunil,” Roca stated. “He is a player who has played more than 2000 minutes in the season so far. He is a special player and he is always giving his best for the team. He’s a very competitive player who plays regularly for the national team. I am happy for him and his outstanding season.”
Before signing off, Roca also revealed the kind of mentality that had brought the team success so far. “I have never felt that we were superior. It is not in my mentality,” he said. “As a coach, I have to be aware and push the team to be better every week. It is because of that we are where we are. I know how difficult it is to finish in the first position in any league. So, I am happy for the club, supporters and the players. Now, we’ll see if we can reach the final.”
Meanwhile, Kerala Blasters head coach David James admitted to having lost out to a superior side. “Bengaluru have the best defence in the league,” the Englishman said. “Most of our shots came from outside the box. They are a very good defensive side. So, with tonight’s efforts, it was not possible to get the three points.”
The former Liverpool custodian, however, praised his team for their efforts under his management. “It’s a great squad, so the sense of motivation was not an issue,” James stated. “Today’s performance for the 90 minutes against the best side in the league was pretty good. But there is frustration at having conceded two goals after injury time. “