We need to exploit Mumbai City FC's weak points: Bengaluru FC’s Marco Pezzaiuoli

Bengaluru FC head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli demands his team to be quick on the ball and create more chances in order to solve their attacking troubles, as his side takes on current champions Mumbai City FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) on Saturday at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa

The 53-year-old highlighted Mumbai City FC’s high pressing as a threat for his team and urged them to avoid making mistakes in their own half. While admiring their style of play, Pezzaiuoli also analysed the Islanders' weak points, and demanded his team to pounce on them to secure the three points.

After a victory in their opening game, Bengaluru have failed to win their next two games, and defeating Mumbai City FC will be an uphill task as the Islanders are fresh off a huge victory against ATK Mohun Bagan. Notably, Chhetri and Co. have been winless against Mumbai City FC over the last three seasons, something which they will look to change.

How is the morale of the team after last match’s loss?

I think the morale is good because we analysed our last game and we deserved to win the game. It’s a process in the way of ball possession, in the way of pressing and counter-pressing, and we’re missing on taking the next step forward.

On analysing the last game, we need to find a faster solution to the opponent’s goal. Against an organized team like Kerala, who close in just behind the halfway line, you have to be organized when winning the ball so you can create chances and score goals. And that is what we were missing. 

Our team had very good ball passing, ball possession. It’s a good thing to have confidence on the ball, and I think it was much better than the last two games

Saturday’s game is a tough challenge against Mumbai City FC. How are you looking forward to it?

Yes, we’re playing against the champions. I’d like to call it a high-motivation game as everybody wants to beat the champions. Mumbai played two great games, they pressed high up the pitch with their wingers, and Angulo [Igor] and Cassio [Gabriel] created good chances and they also made the opponent difficult to play with the ball.

After winning the ball, we need to be faster in transitions, because the transition of Mumbai is excellent at winning the ball, and are faster in transitions, finishing the play with a goal.

But we saw their game against Hyderabad, they also have weak points and that’s what we need to find out in the game, and also deal with the strongest players of Mumbai. We need to be strong in the duels and avoid losing the ball in our half.

Have you worked on any transition movements for Saturday’s game?

We need to be more intensive with the ball because when you have more intensity against the ball, then the question of taking the intensity in forward movements arises. We had a good transition against NorthEast, but in the second game we didn’t have enough intensity against the ball that’s why we lost the speed in the transition.

Against Mumbai, it’s very important to have this intensity against the ball, to get it in transition, to keep running behind the opponent because Fall [Mourtada] and Rahul [Bheke] are also weak in this point when you come behind the defence line and on the wing-back, they’re not strong enough.

A lot of times we’ve seen the scorer of the first goal wins the games. So, how important is the first goal in this game?

It can be important. But in the end, you have to play all 90 minutes. The last game against Kerala was a little bit more than 90 minutes and you saw a late goal in the game leading to 1-0. But at times, you stay zero at the back and give your all to score that one goal.

But of course, every time you score first, you gain that confidence, you feel better, you feel lighter in your legs. So, scoring the first goal is important and at times, it can be very helpful.    

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