Bengaluru FC head coach Simon Grayson claimed that his side’s journey from the bottom half of the table to the final during the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season will be remembered as one of the biggest turnarounds in the league’s history.

Bengaluru FC endured a dismal start to the Hero ISL 2022-23 campaign, recording just three wins from their first 13 games. A poor run of results saw them slip to the bottom half of the league standings in the first half of the season. The Blues, however, quickly turned things around with a 10-match winning streak and made it to the Hero ISL final, where they went down to ATK Mohun Bagan on penalties.

“It’s not something that you want to do every season; have a poor start and then a fantastic run. But it will go down as one of the best and biggest turnarounds in Hero ISL history and probably a lot of other leagues as well if you look at where we were,” Grayson said in an interview with Bengaluru FC.

Bengaluru FC were touted as one of the favourites for the Hero ISL title before the start of the season as they beat Mumbai City FC to win the Durand Cup. With a strong squad on paper, Grayson side’s had momentum in their favour, but things just didn't go their way. They struggled for consistency despite opening their campaign with a 1-0 win over NorthEast United FC.

“You hope that that (Durand Cup win) is going to be the start of a successful season and then the season comes along and things go slightly different. The players worked hard, in difficult conditions as well, because it’s very hot and humid. But also when you put into the factor as well that we played three of the first four games away from home and five out the first seven, which is never easy. And there were a lot of factors that probably went against us in that difficult run. Prince (Ibara) wasn't available, Javi (Hernandez) missed the start of the season and things just didn't quite happen,” Grayson said, as he reflected on his side’s poor run of results.

Grayson arrived at Indian shores with tonnes of coaching experience in English football, having previously worked for clubs like Blackpool FC, Leeds United, Preston North End, and Sunderland FC to name a few. However, the Englishman endured a shaky start in his debut Hero ISL season with his side finding it hard to register results, even at home. In their first five games at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Hero ISL 2022-23, BFC registered just two wins while losing the other three.

But Grayson’s turned Bengaluru FC’s season around with a scintillating run of results. In their last three league games, which took place at home, the Blues got the better of some strong teams such as Kerala Blasters FC, Mumbai City FC, and FC Goa. Grayson highlighted the incredible support from their fans at the Kanteerava and how his players fed off that support.

“The support was incredible and the numbers. Not just numbers that came out but the actual noise within the numbers. It was an unbelievable atmosphere at every game. And I don’t think any of the big teams who we played against really knew what was coming. Yes, they might have played at the Fortress before, but when the place was rocking like it was, it was a really difficult place. And the players bounced off that enthusiasm, that willingness to keep backing the team. And it was a two-way thing that the players were giving the supporters something to cheer about and the supporters were willing the team to do well. We beat some big teams in the last stages of the Hero ISL and then went into the semi-final,” Grayson stated.

He further said: “The home form was valuable because there's no worse feeling than having the run we did at that part of the season reflected to the supporters and you sharing that disappointment as well and what they want to see. And they're not used to losing games at the Fortress and that was a big motivation to correct what had gone wrong.”

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