Sunil Chhetri: Who scores isn’t important, priority is to win

Bengaluru FC take on Chennaiyin FC in the grand finale of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday. The Blues were the best team in the league phase, finishing as toppers, and they also comfortably beat FC Pune City in the semi-finals, progressing to the final with a 3 – 1 aggregate win. Bengaluru skipper Sunil Chhetri has led his side well and has gone on to become the highest-scoring Indian in a single Hero ISL season with 13 goals, including a hat-trick against Pune in their last match. Chhetri will be hoping to lift the trophy in front of Bengaluru’s passionate fans and he spoke to regarding the same ahead of the final. Here are the excerpts.

Your thoughts on playing the final?

We have to just be calm. The reason why we won all (our previous) trophies is because we were calm. Nothing is done yet, it’s going to be a very difficult game. And the last thing we want to do is to count the number of trophies we’ve won (already). We haven’t won the fifth one yet, but we’re on the verge. We are playing well, and the best part is we are going to be playing at Bengaluru. It’s not done yet, so we just want to be calm and go and give our best and hopefully come out victorious. 

How will it be playing against Chennaiyin FC’s gritty defence?

They’re a strong team. I think defensively, they’re very balanced. They work really hard off the ball and they are a team that is more of a unit than individuals. So, I think it is not going to be easy. They played really well against FC Goa. It wasn’t an easy game for them, but they convincingly won in the end. It just shows you the kind of strength they have. We’ve played with them two times this season already, so we know what they have and we’ll be well prepared. 

Does scoring a hat-trick give you momentum for final?

Winning the match has given a lot of confidence to me and the whole team. Right from the start I’ve said this that who scores isn’t important, the priority is to win games and do well as a team. That’s what we did in the semi-final against a very strong side. I am very happy and also pleased that we don’t have any major injuries. It’s been a long season, we’ve been playing two tournaments at the same time. So, the coach has the opportunity to choose from everyone which is a good thing for the club. Thank god we’re on that stage right now.

Is this the best Bengaluru FC squad you’ve played with?

That’s a difficult one! I’ve been very fortunate at Bengaluru FC to play under two different but very abled coaches and played with different players. Right now, I think we’re in-form, everyone is doing well at present. It’s one of the best teams I’ve played for. 

Does playing in Bengaluru give an extra edge or adds pressure?

No pressure. It makes me feel happy. When I play at Kanteerava, no matter what game, no matter what tournament, I always feel happy. I don’t think we’ll be pressurized any differently when we’ll play there. Pressure is always there, whether you play at home and you’re playing a cup final, but apart from that I don’t think there is any added pressure from the fans. 

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