We believe we can make the top six this season: Bengaluru FC’s Simon Grayson

Bengaluru FC head coach Simon Grayson is optimistic of his team stringing together a run of positive results despite securing just two victories in the first eight games of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) campaign. 

The Blues who have also scored just four goals but Grayson believes his strikers can score in abundance once they get back on the scoresheet. 

Grayson also acknowledged the rivalry against Kerala Blasters FC and feels it is a good opportunity for his team to return to form. 

The Englishman spoke to the media ahead of the match against Kerala Blasters FC. Here are the excerpts from the press conference:

The match against Kerala Blasters FC is always a big match for Bengaluru FC fans. What is your take on it? 

Grayson: This is one of the fixtures that, when I first arrived in India, everyone spoke about. Given the rivalry between the clubs, the number of fans that are going to be there, and now it's added the spice that they're in good form and we're looking to get back to winning. So it's something I am excited about and I am sure the players are as well.

How do you plan to stop Kerala Blasters FC who are in such great form? 

Grayson: We seem to be improving week in and week out. We suffered four defeats, but got back to winning against Goa. It was a good performance. I think anyone will realise that we deserved, at the very least, a draw against ATK Mohun Bagan. We limited them to very few chances. One little bit of class changed the outlook of that game. We hit the bar, we had a few good opportunities in the game. This is a fine balance in the game. If we keep improving and if we keep working and improving then we can win a lot of football matches. 

And when you are facing your local rivals then there is no better time to step up and win and go on a winning run which a lot of teams have done. We are capable of doing that so why not start this weekend. 

The team has been improving but scoring goals has been a big problem for the team. How do you see that changing in the upcoming matches? 

Grayson: We work a lot on our attack in the final third. We do a lot of finishing exercises. A lot of it comes down to confidence. You can see that the strikers who are in form, are the ones who are high on confidence. When you haven't scored for a while and when the chances come along, you get a bit nervous. I said it earlier in the week, once a goal goes in for a number of our strikers, I'm certain they'll go on a run because you don't become a poor striker when you have scored loads of goals in the Hero ISL like Sunil Chhetri and Roy Krishna and Sivasakthi did in the Durand Cup. there are fine margins in football matches. Sivasakthi hits the crossbar last week. In pre-season that hits the underside of the bar and goes in. That's where we are at this moment but it can change very quickly. 

Individual mistakes have always hurt Bengaluru FC this season. Have you worked on eradicating these mistakes in training? 

Grayson: We need to have better decision-making. As a head coach, it is frustrating at times because you have done a lot of good work during the week and you lose a match because of a mistake. Very rarely have we lost matches out of pure brilliance of the opponents. We have gifted the opposition too many winning goals, last week was a good example. If we eradicate those fine margins, we can go on a run and I do believe we can do that.

How do you see Kerala Blasters FC as an opponent? 

Grayson: I think they're a team that, like a lot of teams, had a bad run and then went on a good run of winning matches. That builds confidence. They have a fantastic player in Luna, who's a good technician. They will be playing with a lot of confidence and they will be pushing and sustaining a place in the top six like they did last year. I think we can beat anybody on a given day. We feel that we are not too far away and if we keep improving and playing with an edge, you must have seen that against Goa and ATK Mohun Bagan, we're a team that's desperate to put things right, we have an edge about us. You can lose a game, and still draw confidence from that, so our confidence hasn't been affected by last week's defeat.

At some point, our season will click and we will get going. his time last year we had a poor start and went on a good run of winning games and there's no reason that can't happen again. Our aim is to get into the top six and we genuinely believe we can do that. 

What is your assessment of your team so far? 

Grayson: I have to say that our assessment is below where we think this team can be. The league position reflects that. I don't think we have any players that can say that they have played to the levels they expect themselves to play, If that happens you are going to be in a similar position to where we are. But the players have shown that we can go to another level and hopefully we can do that as a group.

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