Jamshedpur FC are doing nice things under Khalid Jamil: Bengaluru FC’s Gerard Zaragoza
Bengaluru FC head coach Gerard Zaragoza shared his thoughts ahead of their next game against Jamshedpur FC.
Bengaluru FC's head coach, Gerard Zaragoza, is optimistic ahead of their next Indian Super League (ISL) match against a resurgent Jamshedpur FC side at the JRD Tata Sports Complex on Sunday.
Bengaluru FC are currently in 7th place in the league table with 14 points and 3 victories from 14 matches. Meanwhile, Jamshedpur FC are one place below the Blues with 13 points and 3 victories to their name from 14 matches.
Both teams secured a win in their previous matches. With only eight games left to play, both sides will be looking to build on the momentum.
Zaragoza acknowledged the progress Jamshedpur FC have made since the appointment of Khalid Jamil as head coach and believes the race for the playoff spot will be difficult this season.
"It's an important game, but it was important for us against Chennaiyin FC or for them (JFC) against Mumbai FC. I think there are between five and six teams who fight for one position; that's difficult. I think this is the most difficult season than the last 10 seasons to try to find this qualifying spot. It will be a tough game, they are doing nice things since they changed the coach. But with the new coach, they made it into the Semi-finals of the Kalinga Super Cup, As I said, we are not thinking too much about the 6th position, we are thinking only about Jamshedpur FC and then Mumbai City FC, day by day," he said in the pre-match press conference.
Zaragoza also discussed the changes he observed in Indian football since he last coached in the country during the 2018–2019 season, where he was part of the coaching staff under Carles Cuadrat. He also highlighted how playing in AFC competitions will benefit the players in the league.
"I think it's more competitive; more teams are trying to win the shield and arrive at the playoffs. Also, opening this playoff to six teams meant that more teams wanted to try to arrive at the qualifying spot. After I left, the (AFC) Champions League arrived here, and to play in the Champions League, you need to work hard as a team," he explained.
"And all this is bringing the players experience, and this experience brings the league, better football," he added.
Jamshedpur FC have been unbeaten in their last two league matches under Khalid Jamil.
Zaragoza is aware of Jamshedpur FC’s strengths and urged his side to control the game.
"Our idea again is to control the game. Now Jamshedpur FC has two good strikers and one good No 10. Our idea is to stop them, to stop the transitions because they are good at transitions and our idea is to control the game; that's the most important. If we control the game, we have chances to win the game," he said.
India international Nikhil Poojary accompanied Gerard Zaragoza in the pre-match press conference. He discussed his adaptation to the head coach's playing style and taking it one game at a time.
"The Chennaiyin FC game was a good indicator of the football we want to play or we can play. The intent was there. Playing beautiful football is a process; it takes time. We all know we have a few games left in the regular season, and we believe we can make it to the playoffs, but we are also taking it game by game," the defender said.
"We as a team are working hard to adapt to this playing style, and I think we have a long way to go. In a few days or weeks, I think the fans will enjoy our football, but at the same time, we are getting comfortable and familiar with the ideas of the coach."
Poojary also explained why he chose BFC over other clubs during the winter transfer window.
"I think you all know, there are many good things about Bengaluru FC but this time it was the project. Coach Gerard (Zaragoza) is one of the big reasons for me to sign for the club."