Carles Cuadrat: We will rest players because we can afford to
Bengaluru FC’s final match in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 league phase pits them against ATK FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday. The defending champions are already through to the semi-finals this season but will want to win the fixture regardless.
At the pre-match press conference, Bengaluru head coach Carles Cuadrat revealed that given his team is already through to the semi-final stage, he will be providing starts to multiple youngsters against ATK. He said, “There is not a lot of time for resting, but at the same time, it is not the most important game of the season. We already have reached the semi-finals. So, we are going to take it easy. Against ATK, I’m going to give a break to my players and give opportunities to some of the young players to be in the first XI."
"We are going to have several players who are going to start for the first time this season. It’s kind of a recognition that they are doing the right work and they deserve to be part of the team," he added.
Bengaluru haven’t quite been at their clinical best of late, but Cuadrat was confident that his players have the experience and quality to bring their A-game when required. “I have to manage the situation the best way for the team. Last season just before the finals, in six games, we got only one victory. And we became champions. Now, if we lose against ATK, no problem. We can afford it. It happens. It is going to be one victory in five games. So, we are better than it was last season. Last season we were champions."
“I am a coach. I never want to lose. But you have to work under circumstances and the way things are working, we know which are going to be the important games. We have a lot of respect for ATK. We are going to try to win but we can relax a little bit in our mind. We can offer our supporters at the Kanteerava the possibility to enjoy a new bunch of young players who want to get a place in the team,” commented Cuadrat.
The 51-year-old also congratulated FC Goa on being the Hero ISL 2019-20 League Winners and clinching the coveted AFC Champions League slot. He said, “I have to congratulate Goa. There are some important moments in the season which makes a change in the situation. If you remember, we were really superior to Goa in front of them. We were winning 0-1 and it was clearly three points from us. But a mistake in the extra-time cost us a penalty, and it was the only way that Ferran Corominas can score against us. Otherwise, he has never been scoring against us. So, there have been instances this season where we have been losing stupid points. We have work to get a place in the next AFC Champions League."
Twenty-two-year-old defender, Parag Srivas, who is in line to make his first start of the season against ATK, said, “It feels good that the coach trusts me and is giving me the opportunity to play. After a three-month injury lay-off I am back on the field. It was the first time in my life that I got such a big injury. It felt good to come back and I can see coach’s trust me. This is a big thing for me that I will be starting for the club for the first time in the Hero ISL. It feels good.”
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