Cuadrat leaves an impressive legacy behind at Bengaluru FC
After two and a half seasons in charge of Bengaluru FC in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL), Carles Cuadrat bid adieu to the club on Wednesday. Cuadrat took over the reins of the club ahead of the 2018-19 season having worked as assistant coach under Albert Roca before that. He had joined the Blues in 2016 as part of Roca’s coaching staff. However, once Roca left the club after Bengaluru’s debut campaign in the Hero ISL in 2017-18, Cuadrat came into prominence and inherited a side that had displayed their abilities by reaching the final in their first season. Cuadrat lived up to fans’ expectations and went one better than his predecessor in his first season at the helm in 2018-19.
To begin with, Cuadrat was tasked with getting one over the team that had beaten them in the final a few months back, Chennaiyin FC. In what was a tough 2018-19 season opener for them, the Blues prevailed courtesy of a solitary goal from their Venezuelan striker Miku and this victory meant a lot to the Blues faithful.
Bengaluru went on an unbeaten run of 11 games after this victory which included a six-match winning streak and help them secure their place in the semi-finals. Key to their success was the balance of the side in both attack and defence. Bengaluru conceded just 23 goals in the whole season, and most of these came after the end of their unbeaten streak. Cuadrat fine-tuned Bengaluru all through the season and results were there for all to see. Under his tutelage, Bengaluru became the first and only team in the Hero ISL to win the league trophy after topping the points table. They beat FC Goa to lift their maiden trophy.
The loss of Miku ahead of the 2019-20 season did take some sting from the Blues. They missed their attacking impetus as the likes of Manuel Onwu and Kevaughn Frater failed to deliver in the same vein. Chhetri was their highest goalscorer with nine goals. Be that as it may, stubborn defending, that saw them record 11 clean sheets, propelled them into the top four after which ATK FC got the better of them in the semis.
In the ongoing 2020-21 season, Bengaluru started well and remained unbeaten in their first six games that saw them register three wins and three draws. They really looked good on the pitch and for a place in the semis. However, in a sudden downward spiral, the Blues lost three consecutive games with the latest defeat coming on Tuesday against Mumbai City FC. A day later the club announced Cuadrat was leaving and Naushad Moosa will take his place on an interim basis.
The Spaniard will always be remembered for delivering Bengaluru’s first trophy in the Hero ISL. During his stint as head coach, Bengaluru went from strength to strength and became a force to reckon with. His parting words are a true reflection of how he felt at Bengaluru FC.
"I would like to thank the owners and management whose vision has been excellent, players who have always been at my service, the staff that I have worked with and that have stood by my side across five seasons and the fans, who have been tremendous in their support, and without whom we could never have carved out so many beautiful nights at the Kanteerava and away. I wish the club all the luck through the season and beyond. This club and the people associated with it will forever be in my heart,” he said in a press release issued by the club.