Cuadrat expects tough match against hungry ATK

Bengaluru FC will look to increase their lead at the top of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 table when they host ATK at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Thursday. The Blues have been a perfect blend of style and substance this season and are unbeaten so far. A win against ATK will see them go six points clear of their nearest rivals in the standings.

Bengaluru head coach Carles Cuadrat was available to address the media at his pre-match press conference a day prior to the match. The Blues have been without Miku in their last five matches and when asked about the impact of the prolonged absence of his team's star striker, he said, "Last season, after 10 games, we were with 18 points. Now we’re with 24 points. So, we have to be very happy. We have played five games without Miku and five games with him. So, it means, we picked up 13 points with him and 11 points without him. He is a very important player in the way we want to play and gives us a lot. But the rest of the guys have been working wonderfully. I am very happy with the attitude of everybody."

The Spaniard also stated that ATK will be a big challenge to overcome. "Very tough game because they want the three points. They want to be in the playoffs and for them, victory is very important. So, we are working and analysing how they play, and they have very tough players in flanks," he said.

In their last outing against Mumbai City FC, the Blues only managed a 1-1 draw despite their opponents playing almost 40 minutes of the second-half with ten men. Quizzed if the failure to make their personnel advantage count worried him, Cuadrat said, "No. I think we did everything to score the second goal. But sometimes we forget that we are playing another team that has a plan and has very good players. We had good chances to score. Mumbai are that kind of team which can play very good counter-attacking football because they have the players for it. At the end of the game, we deserved to win. But in the end, one point was not bad because they also had chances. So, we have to respect the way the other teams are working and the plan they have."

Sunil Chhetri has failed to score in his last three matches in Bengaluru colours. Asked if his captain’s lack of form was a concern, the Spaniard replied, "No, its normal for strikers. It’s the way it is. But its true. If we see goals and assists, the top three are Sunil, Udanta Singh and Miku. And we have missed Miku for the last five games. So, it is difficult to manage when one of the top offensive players is out."

Read the match preview here.

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