Hyderabad FC are one of the favourites for Hero ISL: Bengaluru FC’s Simon Grayson

Bengaluru FC head coach Simon Grayson feels the game against Hyderabad FC in the Hero Indian Super League 2022-23 (ISL) on Saturday at the GMC Balayogi stadium in Hyderabad will be completely different as compared to their meeting in the Durand Cup.

The Blues got the better of Hyderabad FC with a 1-0 win in the semi-final on their way to winning the trophy in September.

The 52-year-old has demanded his team to be defensively sound and not let the opposition create many chances before speaking about where the game will be decided on Saturday. The head coach also discussed how he is working with the squad and the experience of playing home and away in the league.

Grayson spoke to the media ahead of the match in Hyderabad.

Here are the excerpts from Simon Grayson’s press conference:

You defeated Hyderabad FC in the Durand Cup semi-finals but how different will it be in the league?

Every game is going to be different compared to the Durand Cup. On that particular occasion they (Hyderabad FC) were the better team in many aspects, they completely dominated the game which we were all disappointed with. But sometimes we have to win football matches differently and like we spoke after the game, we defended really well in that game against Hyderabad FC. We are going to face Hyderabad FC this weekend again and compared to the Durand Cup, you need to have different qualities. We should not be our previous self and need to do better than before to try and get a result in every football match. They are a strong team and have been impressive so far in the league games and are a team who have been together for a long time with the coach which makes them one of the favourites for winning the trophies this year.

Hyderabad FC have started well in the Hero ISL, with a high scoring draw and have played another high scoring game. Where do you think the game on Saturday will be won or lost?

Like in every game, it will be decided in both the boxes. We will have to defend really well in the 18-yard box and keep the opposition out and when we get the ball we've to be at our best at the top end of the pitch to score the goals. If we analyse the games so far, for large parts our team has looked quite solid defensively and the system has worked. But, in possession we need to be a little better as a team and be more creative. Sometimes the ball gets overturned quite easily which questions the ability of our defenders. We are trying to get the right balance with the players and not be too open and give opportunities to good players because they can punish you. We have had lots of goals in games so far this season. Our team might be slightly different to others due to the system we play in.

The fans were amused watching the crossing ability of Sivasakthi Narayanan. Is that a new aspect of his that you have been working on?

You cannot be solely doing a single particular thing in a football match and not judge only in terms of the goalscoring. You have to provide assists and have to work hard, show good attitude and he (Sivasakthi) did that when he found Roy Krishna with a glancing header who put it into the right area which we were all delighted to see. So he knows he still has got to do a lot of work, both in and out of possession and games like these do show what a talented player he is.

How assuring is it to have Gurpreet Singh Sandhu with the form that he is in?

I don't want him to be as busy as he has been in the games so far. We all know that he (Gurpreet Singh Sandhu) is a fine goalkeeper, but we don't need him to be showcasing his talents too often because we want to be a lot more solid as a team.

You have signed Sandesh Jhingan. How important was it for you to get someone of his experience to fill in the shoes at the centre-back position?

It was important that the recruitment was based on a lot of experience within the group, like Sunil Chhetri we have got Roy Krishna come at the top end of the pitch with a lot of experience. The defence was an area we still felt needed to be filled in even with Aksander Jovanovic and Alan Costa who are different types of characters and types of players. With Sandesh Jhingan, we got somebody who wanted to come play for us and one who has the experience of playing in the league and at international level. It was quite easy to get the deal done and he (Sandesh Jhingan) brings a lot of experience and I think that takes some pressure off from Alan Costa and Alex.

Hyderabad FC have started the season on an impressive note. Any specific instructions to the defence on how to contain the opposition (Hyderabad FC)?

It does not matter which individuals you mention, we want to keep clean sheets. You can throw your defenders into that, your centre forwards or the wide players. You have to try and stop Joao Victor of the opposition from getting on the ball who has been a key player for them. So, we don't concentrate solely on any single player and we have to work as a group to not allow the opposition any easy opportunities.

When we concede a goal where the opposition beats three, four players to score, all we have to do is appreciate and say well played, but when it is an avoidable goal like the one we conceded against Chennaiyin FC, we get disappointed with that. We're not going to concentrate on one player. We certainly respect every player, but we have to win the individual battles and make sure to come out on top after the game so you can go home and be proud of what you've done.

 

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