We are giving ourselves a fighting chance: Bengaluru FC’s Simon Grayson on the playoffs

Bengaluru FC head coach Simon Grayson believes his team have a fighting chance of making the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) playoffs after a third straight win this season. The Blues notched their sixth win of the season after beating Jamshedpur FC 3-0 at the JRD Tata Sports Complex, in Jamshedpur, on Wednesday.

Rohit Kumar and Roy Krishna were on the scoresheet in the first half before Sivasakthi Narayanan joined the party in the second half. However, the match was more competitive than what the scoreline suggests, with both sides creating ample chances. Bengaluru FC are now just a point behind sixth-placed FC Goa and have boosted their chances of making the playoffs with three victories on the spin.

Grayson felt Jamshedpur FC tested his side to the hilt, but was full of praise for his defenders as they came out with a clean sheet.

“Full credit to Jamshedpur FC that they asked questions of us. You know that it is going to be a physical contest, you got to defend well in the 18-yard-box because (they have got) big strong, powerful players, and we did that. They tested us with a lot of corners early on but we were strong. And then we got a really good goal which we are capable of doing to teams on the counter attack. And then we settled down a lot better and then for Roy to hit that fantastic strike is something that he has been doing a lot in training,” Grayson stated at the post-match press conference.

“We did stress at half-time that we have to be better than the first half and try to get that third goal and we certainly did with Siva (Sivasakthi). That gave us breathing space. But full credit to the players, they kept working right till the very end. They wanted to keep a clean sheet. The defenders defended really well in the 18-yard-box because a lot of questions were asked in there - corners, set pieces, crosses into the box. But every centre-back and defender did really well,” he added.

Bengaluru FC have struggled to maintain consistency this season, winning just six of their 14 games so far. Despite three straight wins, the Blues have a negative goal difference of -3. Grayson said his team was working towards bettering that tally as it would play a big part in the race for the playoffs.

“If we are good enough to get into the playoffs, that will take care of itself. The last thing we want to do is potentially miss out on getting into the playoffs by goal difference and that’s what could happen. That is why I was a little critical of the players because we allowed Jamshedpur FC chances later on and maybe we didn’t take our chances. Because come the end of the season, that could play a massive part,” he stated.

“It’s certainly what the players are aware of. But we are giving ourselves a fighting chance. We have got five games to go against teams around us and we’re playing with confidence, but we need to concentrate on the next game. We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves. It’s nice to be sitting here after winning a few matches because it has not been an easy season,” Grayson added.

The Blues have a break in Matchweek 17 and take on ATK Mohun Bagan in their upcoming challenge in Kolkata, on February 5th.

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