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ISL- Indian Super League

Simon Grayson: Couple of good results can help us go on a good run

Published at :December 17, 2022 at 8:35 PM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : ISL Media)

Sathvik Bharadwaj


The Bengaluru FC tactician shed light on the availability of Spaniard Pablo Perez.

Remaining at the top in football is a very challenging thing to achieve. Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC are accustomed to being in the top end of the table, but the 2022-23 season has not been kind to both teams, who are languishing in the ninth and tenth positions, respectively. Coach Simon Grayson was joined by captain Sunil Chhetri for the pre-match press conference. Here is what they had to say.

Avoiding mistakes that cost valuable points

Bengaluru FC have conceded a large percentage of their goals through defensive errors. Simon Grayson talked about having the right attitude during the matches, “We’ve talked a lot as a group collectively and as individuals. I have been showing clips to them. There are reasons for our defeats. Ultimately, we have to reflect upon every game we have played and be better. Training has been very good all season.

"We trained well this week, and we just have to change the fine margins and have a positive attitude in everything that we do: running with the ball, running without the ball, and have a purpose and mentality,” he added.

Jamshedpur’s streak of losses

Defending shield champions enter the fixture on the back of five straight defeats, and Simon Grayson spoke about shelving his friendship with fellow Yorkshireman Aidy Boothroyd for 90 minutes, “We are two teams who are not in very good form. Jamshedpur is a fine example of why football is never easy. They are the reigning league champions. They have found it really tough this season for a number of reasons. Our football club have also found things difficult.

He added, "Clubs have highs and lows and at the moment, both teams are not in the position we want to be in. I’ve a lot of respect for Jamshedpur and Aidy Boothroyd. They will be desperate to stop the run of losses. If we can get a couple of good results, we can go on a good run because we have some very good players in our books, and they don’t become average overnight.

"Correcting those fine margins will make things alright again. Nobody wants to be in the position we are in this moment. It is hurting everybody, from the owner to the kitman to the people who work behind the scenes because it is one big family,” he further added.

Greater pressure for results against weaker teams

After a difficult start to the season, BFC have a run of relatively easier fixtures to round off the first half of the season. Grayson believes that pressure is constant for all teams as he mentioned, “If you are at the top, there is pressure to stay there. If you are at the bottom, there is pressure to get to the top. We’ve got to concentrate and focus fully game by game. We’ve played well against the teams at the top - lost 1-0 to Hyderabad, ATK Mohun Bagan and Odisha. It shows you how close we are.”

Chhetri added, “We put some onus on the luck but now we players know it. They have shown us the videos and we have seen the important moments. Everyone is 100% focused is what is going to give us results. When we went to Goa, it was almost a flawless performance with everyone doing what they are good at. We have all the ingredients needed to turn up in a football game and win.

He further stated, "Everyone is hurting but it is about keeping calm and applying ourselves. What is needed is not magical, we just have to do what all are capable of collectively. The only silver lining is we are working very hard in training with the players looking forward to it. We are not clicking at the right place in the right time. We don’t deserve to be where we are and it’s on us to change things - think about one game at a time and do single stuff.”

Injury concerns

Simon Grayson gave an update on the team’s injuries, “We have always got injuries. Two or three players that might not be available. Pablo has had an extra week of training and he looks a good player. Still not at the physical standard to start a game yet but he made an impact last week. It’s a process we want to take with care.”

Motivating the team during this difficult period

Bengaluru FC is a team who are always thirsty for silverware. They entered the season having lifted the Durand Cup. Keeping the players and staff motivated after a difficult start to the league is challenging, but Sunil Chhetri outlined that the team is training well, “We are trying our best to keep our morale high. Good thing is we are training very well, everyone right from our head coach to Girish, our ball boy. Everyone.

He added, "Few of the big moments in the last few games have not gone our way and we take ownership as players. The message and information are very clear and we have to apply ourselves properly. We take the blame collectively as a team. We are looking to create as many chances as possible. The hard part right now is to be consistent. I trust every name.”

Has the ISL become more competitive?

Chhetri believes that the league has become more competitive over the years, “The league has been more competitive and a little bit more faster. It is a progressive change and a good one. As a spectator, I can tell you that it is improving.”

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