Bengaluru FC head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli has asserted that a crop of youngsters from their system are ready for the big stage, following the footsteps of Naorem Roshan Singh, who has been exceptional this season. The Blues are set to face ATK Mohun Bagan in their Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 match at the PJN Stadium, Fatorda on Sunday evening.

Pezzaiuoli addressed the media during the pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s game.

Here are the excerpts from the press conference:

What are your thoughts on ATK Mohun Bagan ahead of the game?

ATKMB are one of the best teams in the League. They have high quality players, but we believe in ourselves, we played a good game against them (earlier this season), we know their weaknesses. But, in the end, we need to focus on ourselves. It's an important game, these 90 minutes. We beat Odisha, and Odisha drew with them so that shows how strong we are.

When the team is functioning well and it loses important players like Danish Farooq and Naoram, does it make your job difficult even if there are replacements?

Losing players is not only difficult, it's also interesting for a coach because the players stepping in have to bring out their best. When (Naorem) Roshan Singh was absent, we did not have an exact replacement for him. Now, with Danish gone, we do not have midfielders like him, who can run so much in the field. We need a player who can invest time in the ball, come and score goals like a second striker and also help in defending.

There must have been some targets at the start of the season, how has it been so far?

The analysis of the season only happens at the end. We played better football, scored a lot of goals. We have a different style, where we play higher and try to get the ball as soon as possible.

We've played a lot of youngsters as well, many players from the academy played in the ISL, which is a good change. When the club is investing in youth football, the coach needs to give the players an opportunity. Roshan has come out of your system, and it's not the end of the line. We have many more youngsters coming through and they can be really good additions to the season.

What is your assessment of Lara Sharma’s performance in the season?

Lara has done well, and he's been working well with the other goalkeepers and Stefan Toonen, the (goalkeeping) coach. We trust and believe in Lara, and as well as Sharon.