We want to secure a home tie in the playoffs: Bengaluru FC’s Simon Grayson
Bengaluru FC head coach Simon Grayson has urged his team to continue their winning momentum and secure a top-four spot in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) that will ensure a home tie for the Blues in the playoffs when they take on FC Goa in the final game of the league stage at the Sree Kanteerava stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday.
The 2018-19 champions need a victory to have the possibility of finishing in the top four while a defeat would put their chances of doing so in serious jeopardy.
Grayson whose team are on a seven-match winning streak wants them to keep the momentum heading into the playoffs.
“The most important thing is that whatever team goes out tries to win the game, we want to keep the momentum. We want to finish in the top four and get that home tie in the playoffs,” Grayson said during the pre-match press conference.
“I think every team that qualifies for the playoff would like the home tie. If it doesn't happen that way, we've won at some difficult places this season. We've won at ATKMB, Jamshedpur and some other places, so whatever will be,” he added.
A healthy competitive spirit in the Bengaluru FC camp during the recent run has given Grayson a selection headache. For the Englishman though, it’s a welcome dilemma.
“The more players in form, the better it is for the team. Whatever team I put out, it will be in the best interests of the football club,” Grayson said.
“Sunil has been patient because Roy and Siva were playing well. I'd rather have to make these tough decisions, than not,” he added.
The Blues are likely to be without defender Alan Costa who has flown back home to be with his wife after a few complications in the birth of their child. However, Grayson feels his squad is ready to step in if any player is absent.
“Alan has had to travel back home to be with his wife, who's had some complications with the birth of their child. He won't be back, but the most important thing right now is that they are safe and healthy as a family, and we wish him the best,” revealed the Bengaluru FC head coach.
“But we have players who are hungry to deliver when they get a chance and that’s a good feeling to have as you have that kind of depth,” he added.
Defender Aleksandar Jovanovic who made his debut in the Hero ISL this season accompanied Grayson in the pre-match press conference and spoke about his impressions of the league.
“It's better than what I expected it to be. Winning the Durand Cup was a great achievement. In the Hero ISL, as the season progressed I realised that everyone can beat everyone. Every matchday you have to be at 100%,” Jovanovic said.
“What we've experienced this season has been brilliant. From starting off slowly to going on a winning streak, it has been an incredible effort here at Bengaluru FC. I'm grateful for this experience in my career, and the aim now is to go on and try to win this,” he concluded.