Sunil Chhetri: Bengaluru are the most consistent team
The Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 final will see Bengaluru FC go toe-to-toe against FC Goa at the Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday for the title. With ATK and Chennaiyin FC winning the league twice each in the previous four seasons, the tie guarantees a new champion's emergence. Both teams have played in a final before - Goa in 2015 and Bengaluru in 2017-18 - but failed to cross the last hurdle.
Ahead of the momentous match, indiansuperleague.com caught up with Bengaluru’s talismanic forward Sunil Chhetri to know his thoughts. Here are the excerpts.
How is the mood in the camp before the final?
Positive. Looking forward to it. Everyone is happy. Touchwood, everyone is injury free, apart from Erik Paartalu, who we have missed for 3-4 matches now. But everything looks nice, everyone is happy and injury free.
Table-toppers and finalists in two consecutive seasons. Does this make Bengaluru FC the best team in India?
I have topped the league thrice now, three times in a row (2016 with Mumbai City FC and twice with Bengaluru). But the way the format is, it means nothing. It is good to hear but we want to go all the way. If you're asking about Bengaluru FC, yes, we are the most consistent team. I wouldn't say the best team, otherwise, I will get into trouble. But yes, the most consistent team. It is not easy to top the table twice and be the kind of team we are. To win the Hero Super Cup in between is not easy. So, with respect to stats and the way we have played, we are definitely one of the most consistent teams, if not the best or the best.
Who is the biggest threat from FC Goa?
There are many. It's just the way FC Goa play. The biggest threat would be their head coach Sergio Lobera because of his brains and the way they play. And, they have some amazing individual players. I just don't want to take a few names like Ahmed Jahouh, Edu Bedia, Ferran Corominas or Mourtada Fall. I need to consider the whole team. Brandon (Fernandes) has been doing well and Jackichand Singh has been instrumental for them. The 'Young Jacki' is what they call him and Seriton Fernandes at the right-back position is doing really well. Mandar Rao Dessai has been good. As a team, we know them quite well and I am sure they can say the same thing about us. So, it is going to be an interesting battle.
Both Carles Cuadrat and Sergio Lobera have a similar footballing philosophy. How will this play out in the final?
It's going to be a good attacking game to watch. Two attack-minded teams are involved and you can expect a kind of an open game. As it is the final, there will be nerves and a little jitter. But on the whole, you would see an attack-minded game and that probably would be great for the neutrals.
Read the Match Preview here.