We have to stick together and work on the positives: Bengaluru FC head coach Simon Grayson

Bengaluru FC head coach Simon Grayson expressed his emotions after a tough defeat against East Bengal FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Friday. Cleiton Silva's goal made the difference for East Bengal FC as the Blues slumped to their third straight defeat of the season and have now dropped to the ninth position on the Hero ISL table.

Grayson mentioned how the team were having a real go at the game before conceding and there were lots of positives in the match. The Englishman urged his side to stick together with tough games coming up and keeping work hard to turn around their results.

Here are the excerpts from Grayson's post-match press conference:

A third defeat in a row, what do you think is going wrong for the team?

I think up to the goal going against us, we were threatening more than we have been in recent games. We played with a tempo, with and without the ball. We pressed in the right areas and we passed with a lot more intensity. We had better players on the pitch tonight, Javi (Hernandez) was a constant threat. We just haven’t done what really is the hardest part of the job around the 18-yard box, hitting the target and working the goalkeeper more. Most of that comes with confidence, belief, and quality as well. That was probably the thing that was missing in our game. There wasn’t a lot in the game and both teams were having a real good go in trying to win it.

When they scored my only disappointment was the first mistake Suresh (Wangjam) made. He should’ve cleared and he was brilliant throughout the match. We got punished for that and after that, it was the biggest disappointment that we sort of rushed things. We panicked for a while, we got around the 18-yard box and we crossed from behind the goal or we took the shot from 40 yards out. It was wrong decision making. The goal (from East Bengal FC) rocked us, but we can’t fault the players’ desire and effort. I want to reiterate that it’s as good as we’ve played over the last few weeks, with and without the ball up, until we made the mistake and conceded the goal.

A word on Sivasakthi Narayanan's absence?

He injured his ankle against Odisha FC. He had a little setback in training the other day. Hopefully, he’s not too far away. There are more attacking options who are available and it gives us more threat at the top end of the pitch. We need them. We’re not creating enough chances or being clinical enough, but we have progressed in the last two games where we’ve not looked that threatening. We need to be ruthless when we get into those positions, with a little more quality as well.

The next three fixtures are some of the most difficult fixtures, so what are your steps in terms of bouncing back?

We have got to stick together. We just mentioned in the dressing room that nobody else is going to stop this run of form other than us. Me, the staff, and the players got to stick together, we got to take the positives out of what was a decent performance. Learn from the experience of the last 15-20 minutes when we conceded, and we go again.

Why can’t we go to Mumbai and win? But that’s football and nobody else is going to give us an easy ride. It’s tough at this moment. We’re getting punished for our mistakes. The last three defeats have all been by 0-1. That can happen in football but we have to stick together, believe together, and work as a team. We got to keep the confidence with everyone that we are working with.

How do you motivate the players when the team is going through a rough form and tough matches are coming up?

Give them the positives. Leading up to the goal, I think we were quite positive as we have been lately. We were passing the ball with good purpose. We asked the wide players to take on the opponents, we got players into the box, we were delivering crosses, and we were asking our players to shoot from the distance. A lot of those things were positive in our approach. We didn’t test the keeper enough, but that comes with a little bit of quality.

We have to make sure that we don’t panic when we make mistakes, we keep trying to do the right things. I think East Bengal FC sort of managed the game well when they were under pressure, they were going down and trying to kill the pace of the game and that happens in football, we got to deal with it. We got to learn from every experience. It’s not easy when you lose matches, it’s tough for everybody. But the only people to turn this around is the staff and the players being together again.

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