Sandesh Jhingan interview: Hero ISL final another opportunity to be best version of myself
Bengaluru FC will take on ATK Mohun bagan in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 final on Saturday looking to win the title for the second time.
The Blues will be playing in their third final after making back-to-back appearances in 2017-18 and 2018-19.
Centre-back Sandesh Jhingan will be featuring in his fourth Hero ISL final but has yet to taste success in the competition having tasted defeat twice with Kerala Blasters FC in 2014 and 2016 and later with ATK Mohun Bagan in 2020-21.
Jhingan though is not letting the past deviate his focus on the task at hand which is to help Bengaluru FC beat his former team ATK Mohun Bagan in the final.
It's a big occasion but the Indian centre-back tries to keep things simple and take it as just any other game.
Ahead of the Saturday showpiece, Jhingan spoke exclusively to indiansuperleague.com about Bengaluru FC's resurgence, his learnings from past final defeats and his preparatory routine ahead of such a big match.
Here are the excerpts:
It's been an incredible turnaround for Bengaluru FC. Can you identify a turning point be it on the pitch or off the pitch that sparked this revival?
I wouldn’t pinpoint any particular moment, but we kept believing and that was a big part of why we managed to do what we have. All the boys fought for each other, pushed each other and that’s been really important.
You have all been at home in the back three. As a centre-back how does this formation get the best out of you and your teammates?
It’s not only about the defence, and I’ve said this plenty of times before. The whole team helps us play in the formation that we have adapted to. Everyone from the striker to the wing-back to the central midfielder works together to help us get the best out of each other.
You have played three finals so far and lost all. What have you learned from those defeats that could help you this time and are those finals an added motivation for you?
Every final, regardless of whether you win or lose, teaches you something. Come what may on Saturday night, it is another opportunity for me to express myself, do my best and be the version of me that I want the team to have on the field.
Talk us through the semi-final win over MCFC. You were under pressure and defending for the majority of those two legs. What was key behind absorbing so much pressure and not succumbing especially after their comeback at Kanteerava?
I think it was team-work, again. We communicated well through the game and beyond, into extra-time. They had a lot of the ball, but the idea was to not allow them an opening. We wanted to keep them away from the final third and I think we managed to do that for large parts of the game, which helped us get through to the final.
Lastly, what is your preparation routine for such a big game? How do you get ready for a game of such magnitude?
For me, even though it is a final, the preparation is the same. I want to make sure I’m ready, train hard, rest well, recover well and ensure that I’m in my best possible shape for a game that we’ve worked hard to create the opportunity to play.