Cuadrat: Facing Xisco and Aridane will be a big challenge
Bengaluru FC will be on the road to face off against Odisha FC at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Pune on Wednesday. The Blues are still unbeaten in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 so far, having notched up two wins and four draws in their six outings. The defending champions were held to a 1-1 draw by Hyderabad FC in their last match courtesy a Robin Singh equaliser in added time but Carles Cuadrat’s men will only have themselves to blame for not registering maximum points, considering their failure to put the game to bed despite the abundance of opportunities they had.
Expanding on the same, Bengaluru head coach Cuadrat, at the pre-match press conference, stated, “This is a type of competition where every game is tough. All the teams know that we lost points in the last match, and it will hurt our chances to get to the semis as it is a short competition. If you analyse most of the games, we dominated but sadly weren’t good enough to get the three points in a few of them. We have to accept that and keep working. We've been working hard to add to our lead. We've gone for the second goal every time we have scored the first. When you arrive at the last moments of the game, with only one goal, anything can happen. It’s just a matter of one action.”
“There is a lot to work on - certain defensive adjustments and a lack of control of emotions during the last moments. You see a lot of players losing the ball when they shouldn’t. We need to avoid these because it allows the other team to create chances and come back. I think it’s something all teams will have to work on. If it’s one time, you can talk about the next game but if it happens repeatedly, you have to think about it,” the Spaniard added.
Shifting his focus to the challenge at hand, Cuadrat had some warm words in store for Odisha head coach Josep Gombau and his side. “Josep is a hard-working coach who likes to play attacking football and possession-based game. I think in the match, Odisha are going to fight against us for possession of the ball, and it's going to be an interesting game. He is doing good things for football in India. I have a nice relationship with him,” Cuadrat commented about his fellow Spaniard.
Speaking about the match itself, Cuadrat predicted a tough match, particularly for his side’s defence who will be up against the likes of Xisco Hernandez – a former Blues player – and striker Aridane Santana, who has already found the net four times this campaign. “Odisha use the ball to try to make the game go in their favour. They try to move the ball around and take advantage of the quality of their foreigners. We have to try and set a plan for that. Until now we are happy with the defence. We have only conceded two goals, so I think we've defended well against the likes of Marcelo Pereira, Asamoah Gyan, Bartholomew Ogbeche and other very good players. Now against Xisco and Aridane, it will be a big challenge and we will have to plan the game accordingly. Every game is a challenge. Every team gives you different types of challenges. I am delighted that I get the opportunity to solve different problems,” he opined.
Sharing his views about his own team, Cuadrat noted, “I think we are a very well-balanced team. We have players who can play in different positions. It helps us to be versatile on the pitch. Any coach will want to take full advantage of all the players available to him. If you have all players available to you, you can put out your best XI and play the way you want to, but this season, till now, we haven’t had the opportunity.”
This season, the Hero ISL has been the battle ground for many contrasting philosophies and playing styles – from Jorge Costa’s direct counter-attacking style to Robert Jarni’s pragmatic approach in games to Cuadrat and Sergio Lobera’s Spanish possession-based expansive football. Asked about his opinion about the styles on show, Cuadrat replied, “In football, we don't have to get confused about the style. At the end of the day, it's about winning. You have to be competitive. With the players that you have, you should make the best plan to win the game. It depends on the objectives and having the right players to achieve that.”
Defender Albert Serran was also present at the briefing and when asked to sum up his experience in India so far, the Spaniard said, “I was able to gel well with the team last season, and my point of view of the league is that it is an interesting one for the foreign players. It's an attractive league and it's well planned and well organized for the players. This season, we've started differently in terms of results, but we are playing the same type of football.”
Read the Match Preview here.