Last few results have hurt me more than ever before: Bengaluru FC's Simon Grayson

Bengaluru FC head coach Simon Grayson said that he’s working extremely hard to turn the tide around for his team and has backed his players to come good. The Blues face Mumbai City FC away from home in matchweek 7 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai on Thursday.

Grayson is of the opinion that his team have been playing with more tempo, more quality, but are lacking the end product in front of the goal. The Englishman also urged his players to be vigilant and find the balance against the Islanders, hailing them as an attack-minded team, having the ability to score plenty of goals once they get going.

The 52-year-old also spoke about gaining more knowledge about his players and stated that the team can draw confidence from their Durand Cup final win as he addressed the media in the official pre-match press conference ahead of the match.

Here are the excerpts from Grayson’s press conference:

How have the preparations come along for the game against Mumbai City FC?

Since the game on Friday, we've worked hard on the training pitch, trying to do some separate things, some different things. So as much as we can talk about Mumbai, it's about what we want and what we have to do to win football matches again. It's about tweaking a few things, to get from getting close to winning games, to actually winning games because I don't think we're too far away from winning matches.

For the game against East Bengal FC, I thought we were as good as we've played all season, we played with a tempo, with a lot more quality, we just didn't have that end product, again, it's really been missing all season for us. And that's with having some experience and some talented people that you put in front of goal in a few positions, you'd expect them to at least hit the target. And that's what we've got to be better at, everybody as a team that passed it in but also to be a bit more clinical when we get these opportunities.

You’ve said that you’re in the process of learning the players, the team, and the system. So, what happens when you have a stream of processes with your team? Does it actually make it tougher for you to get your message across? How is that going so far?

Regardless of whichever country you're in, I'm always learning every day about myself, players, games, formations, systems. You always have to look at each game and analyse it in depth of good things, bad things, average things, to improve for the next game whether you’ve won, lost, or drawn, and that's what we do. In terms of where we are now, I do feel I know the players a lot better and clearer in the last few weeks. These players are a good group. They do care about every day training, matchday situations and everything. They're hurting as much as the supporters and I am sad that we've lost the last three games.

I said to the players on Saturday morning, that people back home in England said to me when I came here 'oh, you're going for a nice holiday'. Believe me, these last results are hurting me more than ever before because this is the club I'm working for. When I lost a match at Leeds, it was my club, I grew up there, the team I supported. It hurt me then. But this is really hurting me a lot too because this is my job and I want to be successful here. Waking up at 3 am or 5 am, thinking about football and results. It's in my blood and that's why I do it. I'm working extremely hard to correct things, to turn it around and I know we won't be far away from doing that.

Do you think Mumbai City FC will give you these opportunities because they tend to concede?

We'll be trying to score, because our plan is not to sit back and nick something, or go for a 0-0. We've certainly got to get the right balance and try to take the game to them, but also be very respectful of (their) important players at the top end of the pitch that can hurt you. They probably play with a bit of freedom about them if they think they can win. If the opposition falls out, they have the ability to score five or six (goals) because of the talent that they've got at the top end of the pitch. So we've got to get the right balance.

Momentum can be a fickle thing especially in Indian football. However, momentum does come with some form of consistency. So, do you believe that you’ll narrow down a formation or a system to break the run of the process?

I’ve looked at different formations. Even in the first few games, when we played three at the back, we were never out of games we lost, we've lost every game by the odd goal, and that's the fine margins. If we can sort of eradicate one or two mistakes, maybe get the first goal, it can lift, sort of, it can be a different mindset from everybody, and that's what we've got to do. Momentum can change very quickly. If we score the first goal somehow, then it changes the momentum.

We've been positive around the players and they've responded really well. There's nobody other than us - the staff and the players - that can change where we are at this moment. Hard work, keep believing in each other that we can get to where we want to get to because we certainly believe we can do, definitely. I'm not just saying that for the sake of it, we all believe that we can get to turn this run of form to be successful.

How have the players taken to this poor form of results? How has the dressing room been like for the players?

In terms of when you've won one game out of five and drawn the other one, I can say that, I would think if you went around all the players in the dressing room, they would be open and honest to say that none of them are playing at the best of their capabilities because that is the proof of the results so far. But they're not playing with no confidence and lowered self, there's somewhere (they) need to just get into where they need to get to, and a little bit more can turn it very quickly.

So, I’ll be very surprised if any of you asked the same question to any of the players that any of them would say that they are playing to the max, because if they are, I’m not sure they're telling the right stories.

Mumbai City FC are an attacking team, who are yet to lose a match, and have also scored the most goals in the league so far. So, how do you read them as an opponent?

They’ve got a good mixture of some very good foreign players. Obviously, Greg Stewart is one that stands out (given) how good he was last year. I think they've got some good Indian players that have taken their game to another level, playing with confidence and belief.

Like any team, if they've lost a couple of games so far, they're probably not playing with the same arrogance, confidence, belief that they are doing at this moment in time. I'm sure everyone watching the game on Thursday would be expecting a home win, as everyone back in the UK would have thought Man City would beat Brentford on the weekend.

You faced Mumbai City FC in the Durand Cup final, but they’re a much different side now. They have taken time to get better. What are the things you are taking from that game in the approach to this one?

We spoke about it in the previous conferences that we played Hyderabad FC, Odisha FC, and we beat them in the Durand Cup and I (had) said then that we will take bits from it, but it's not major. I think what we can say is that we have beat them and we can draw confidence from that, even though it was in the Durand Cup. The reverse can happen too, I'm sure they will be saying that they always wanted to beat us in the final, so it can work both ways.

But I think it's more about the league where it really matters rather than the Durand Cup. As much as it is great for everybody, it's history, it's about what happens next rather than looking back in the past.

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