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ISL- Indian Super League

We just haven't found the right balance, claims BFC coach Simon Grayson

Published at :October 26, 2022 at 3:26 AM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : ISL Media)

Sathvik Bharadwaj


The tactician also provided an update on Roy Krishna's availability.

Bengaluru FC started the season with optimism. Riding on a return to trophy-winning with the Durand Cup triumph, the Blues began the ISL season with a late winner against NorthEast United at the Kanteerava, before holding Chennaiyin FC to a 1-1 draw away. In their previous match however, Hyderabad FC rode on an 83rd-minute goal from Bartholomew Ogbeche to beat Bengaluru FC. Simon Grayson and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu spoke to members of the media ahead of the Odisha FC clash.

Here's what they had to say.

Simon’s assessment of the season so far

Simon Grayson gave an honest assessment of his club’s performance so far in the ISL. He said, “I think we are doing okay. But okay is not going to be good enough in the long term to get to the level we want to get to. When we looked at the preseason games and training sessions we were really pleased with where it was going, but the league is a different competition. You’ve got strong opposition, tempo and crowds in.

He added, "From my perspective, defensively we look very solid. We have limited the three teams to very few opportunities, even against Hyderabad he (Gurpreet Singh Sandhu) did not have many saves to make. That has been pleasing. Where we need to improve is keeping possession of the ball and creating chances. It is a learning curve for me.

"I am still in the learning stages of understanding my players, the league and different environments. You have to have a different mentality. I will learn from previous games and hopefully, I will keep improving. Then we can get the right balance between being defensively very strong and creating chances. We have the players to do that, but we just haven’t found the right balance,” the tactician opined.

Update on Roy Krishna’s availability

Fijian Roy Krishna was not part of the squad for the trip to Hyderabad. Simon Grayson provided an update on his fitness and said, “I will give you a secret. He will be available for Thursday night. We have suffered over the last few weeks with few injuries and again some won’t be available, and some will. Prince has missed most of the season so far and he has been a big player for us. The players have to come into the squad and perform as well.”

Javi Hernandez’s season

Attacking midfielder Javi Hernandez will face his former club on Thursday. Apparently, Javi has not quite found his rhythm in his new club. Simon Grayson said, “The reason why Javi did not start the season was because he missed 3-4 games of preseason. He started training only before the NorthEast United game and It was far too much of a risk to start a player with less game time. Javi can affect the game in many different ways and the more time he is in the team, he will become a better player. In the first three games, his fitness has not been great after the injury he picked up in the Durand Cup.”

Thoughts on Odisha FC

Odisha have looked a tough team to beat ever since their victory in the season opener against Jamshedpur. The Juggernauts came back to beat Jamshedpur 3-2, before defeating Kerala Blasters 2-1. Simon Grayson dissected his upcoming opponents and said, “I have learnt more about Odisha by watching their three games so far, despite playing them in the Durand Cup. It was different formations and was a pre-season. This is where it matters, and I've picked up a lot of things.

He added, "One of the things we picked up from the Durand Cup is that they're a good team. The coach has transformed them from last year. We're very respectful of them, but like any team, they'll have some weaknesses that we need to exploit with the players we have in our team. Travelling is never easy, even though the flights have been short. It is a bit like groundhog day, we would have loved to have another home game in between this period but we want to win regardless of home or away. We would have taken a point on Saturday against one of the best teams.”

Gurpreet’s take on his season so far

Custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has rescued Bengaluru FC on several occasions and has been a commanding presence in goal. He said, “It has been pretty good so far. We have been solid defensively and that is thanks to the four or five players in front of me who put their line to stop shots on goal. It makes my life easier. It has been good. I could do much better if you see that moment from the last game but other than that I have been very happy with mine and the team’s performance. Hopefully, we can have consistency for the whole season.”

Communication with the rest of the backline

A new-look defence has solidified Bengaluru FC. New signings Sandesh Jhingan and Aleksandar Jovanovic have slotted in seamlessly alongside Alan Costa. Gurpreet commented, “The communication is very good. Having Sandesh Jhingan in the backline is very good, because we've played 40 or 50 games together. It is much easier for me to communicate. The players know that I communicate, and it's important to have that balance of communication that I'm grateful for. Roshan and Prabir know how I operate.”

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