Cuadrat expecting tough challenge from wounded Hyderabad

Defending champions Bengaluru FC’s next assignment in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 will be away to Hyderabad FC at the G.M.C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium on Friday. After three successive draws, Carles Cuadrat’s men picked up the pace, with wins in the subsequent two matches and will be eager to keep the run going against bottom-placed Hyderabad.

A win against Hyderabad could take the Blues to the top of table, although Cuadrat reckons it won’t be a walk in the park. “They (Hyderabad) need the points. So, it is going to be a really tough game for us. When you lose the game in the circumstance they did in the last game, you really get anxious about playing again and show everybody that it was an accident. It makes you more focused and concentrated. They are going to be 100% more focused than they were before in the last game,” said the Bengaluru head coach at the pre-match press conference.

In their last outing, Bengaluru beat arch-rivals Kerala Blasters FC by a solitary goal at home. After the match, Kerala head coach Eelco Schattorie, at the post-match briefing, declared that his team dominated the tie and the final result may not have been a proper reflection of the way the match played out on the pitch. Pressed on his views on the rival coach’s comments, the Spaniard stated, “Everybody can express their opinion in football. But I belong to the sports culture that when we lose a game, we congratulate the other team, and we put the eyes in our own house and not in the house of the opponent. I say that because I heard that 'there was only one team on the pitch' and these kind of things. Coaches should give tactical analysis, and if you see the game, (Bartholomew) Ogbeche didn't even get one chance to shoot. Gurpreet (Singh Sandhu) didn't go to the floor, not even one time. We saw Raphael Augusto arrive into the box completely alone two times. We saw in the set-pieces how the best Indian striker in Hero ISL history arrived in the penalty box completely alone.”

“There is a lot of work behind what we do and my players are working hard for these results. I'm happy with their performances and I will always praise them for their work. Every football game, for me, is like a game of chess. You have to think about a plan, you have to explain that to the players, then you have to make sure things go right. If you watch the last game carefully, you will notice that there were two teams on the pitch,” he added.

Bengaluru captain Sunil Chhetri scored the winner against Kerala and has found the net in his last two outings after drawing blanks in the first three. Pleased with his star striker’s return to form, Cuadrat stated, “When you are one of the best strikers in the country, you have to contribute a lot to the game of the team. He’s doing his job. He has scored in the last two games, but if you remember, he had a very clear chance in the first game as well. He always does his job to create chances.”

The Spaniard then shifted focus to you youngster Ashique Kuruniyan and added, “He’s a talent. He still has to learn a lot of things. After two months working with him, I cannot say that he has changed a lot in the way he is playing. What I can say is that he understands what he is required for the team. Step by step, he is trying to do the things we are asking him to do. I’m sure in the next years he is going to give us and Indian football a lot.”

Defender Rahul Bheke, who missed the Kerala match with an injury, had accompanied Cuadrat to the media briefing and provided an update on his condition. “Right now, I am feeling better. My physios are working on it. In a few days I will be back. It was a groin injury. So, it was not a tear or something. Just a swelling,” he informed.

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