Bengaluru FC head coach Gerard Zaragoza wants their supporters to stand behind his team when they take on Odisha FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru in the opening game of Saturday’s double-header.

Sergio Lobera’s team emerged victorious in the opening fixture against the Blues back in October 2023. However, Bengaluru FC are unbeaten in eight out of the nine matches this season while playing at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium. Zaragoza’s men will be determined to carry forward their scintillating home record against the Kalinga Warriors and stay alive in the chase for a playoff spot.

Zaragoza acknowledged his opponent’s strengths and is fully aware of the difficulties that Odisha FC can present them. However, the Spaniard is optimistic about bringing out positive result with the immense support of their supporters.

“We trained very well in the last two weeks. Odisha FC is a very good team, with strong individuals and a very good coach, but we know that we will play at the Kanteerava and we will have our supporters behind us,” Zaragoza said in the pre-match press conference.

The 42-year-old head coach urged his players to keep things simple while playing against a formidable team like Odisha FC. Zaragoza had words of praise for some of their foreign players but wanted his players to stay concentrated and take charge of the game.

“We always try to be protagonists in the game. We always try to keep up the work, to attack, and to be as spectacled as we can. We did this against Kerala Blasters FC. We try to arrive at the opponent's box as much as we can, to play a cross, and go inside the box with many players (upfront). And that’s the idea,” he explained.

“Of course, we need to defend because they have two very good strikers (Roy Krishna and Diego Mauricio) who scored lots of goals. They have Ahmed Jahouh, for me, who is the best player in this league. We need to be aware of them. My team needs to be ready for defense as well as for attack,” he continued.

Zaragoza also had words of praise for defender Shivaldo Singh, who has been playing regularly in the last few months. But he wants the defender to continue working hard and improve his game to ensure a brighter future.

“He (Shivaldo Singh) is almost new at this professional level. He is now knocking at the door and jumping a lot of steps,” he stated.

“But he needs to improve every single day. It’s just a start for him. He has a lot of future and a lot of potential. It’s time for him to work, to understand, and to learn from the coaches and the other players. And I’m sure he has a great future,” he concluded.

I want to prove myself: Shivaldo Singh

 

Since making his ISL debut against Mumbai City FC in December, Shivaldo Singh scored his first goal for the Blues in their very last match against FC Goa, where his team suffered a narrow defeat despite taking a slender early lead. He was also selected for the India U23 squad, where he also scored a goal against Malaysia U23 in an international friendly last week.

The 19-year-old teenager has confidence in his abilities and is determined to prove his quality in the league.

“I am still the youngest player in the squad, and I want to prove myself,” he commented.

Speaking about his experience thus far in the ISL and his first ISL goal, he said, “I am feeling really great. I’ve been really working hard to come to this stage at this young age.”

“Against FC Goa, I scored my first ISL goal. I am really proud of myself and looking forward to scoring more goals, even with the national team,” he signed off.