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Simon Grayson: We've the spirit & work ethic to beat Mumbai City

Published at :February 15, 2023 at 5:52 AM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : ISL Media)

Sathvik Bharadwaj

The Bengaluru FC head coach has certain tactical plans in mind for the Islanders.

Bengaluru FC shrugged off a torrid start to the season to emerge as a force to be reckoned with heading into the latter stages of the tournament. Since the new year, Simon Grayson's Blues have won all six games. The strikers have been clinical up front, the midfield engine of Rohit Kumar, Javi Hernandez, and Suresh Wangjam have carried out their respective duties to perfection, and the defence has conceded just four goals.

Heading into a crucial game against record-breaking Shield winners Mumbai City FC, head coach Simon Grayson joined defender Sandesh Jhingan to address the media for the pre-match press conference.

Thoughts on the upcoming fixture

Mumbai City raced along to win the ISL shield in record time, winning 14 and drawing four of their 18 games, and managing 46 points. Simon Grayson showered praise on the squad, “Firstly, I’d like to congratulate Mumbai for winning the Shield. They’ve done an outstanding job all season to be where they are in the League. It’s up to us now to stop their unbeaten run and get three points to stay in the playoffs.”

“It’s going to be a really tough game. They’ve got some really talented players. We need to ensure that we assess their strengths and weaknesses, play our game effectively and most importantly, enjoy the occasion. We got a fantastic result at the weekend, but that’s in the past. It’s what we can affect going forward and the next game is a chance for us at doing that.”

Continuing the winning run

Simon Grayson mentioned that he has some set plans to tackle Mumbai City and wanted to continue the winning run Bengaluru are in, “We have set game plans which are working well for us. Even if we go behind, we have to stick to those plans and not do anything untoward. If we do that against Mumbai, they have players who can pick us apart.”

“We’re in a good run of form and there are players who are doing well. The team has belief in itself and this was evident in the weekend. We want to continue this run and try and get what would be a fantastic result.”

Jhingan added, “You got to get everything right against a side like Mumbai. We need to tick all the boxes as a team, irrespective of the opposition and everyone needs to play together as a unit and that will help us have a good game. We want to carry out certain plans that we think will help against Mumbai and are certainly respectful of them. But whether it’s in or out of opposition, we know some of their weaknesses and will look to exploit them on Wednesday.”

Two players missing through suspension

Parag Shrivas and Roy Krishna have been critical to Bengaluru’s march to the top end of the ISL 2022-23 table. Both players will miss the fixture after picking up four yellow cards each. Simon Grayson maintained that this does not change things much. He said, “Their (Roy and Parag’s) unavailability doesn’t change much. Even if they are missing, there are players who know our tactics and patterns. These players will be looking to make the most of this opportunity which helps us a great deal.”

Pressure on Mumbai as well

Although Mumbai have nothing to lose, they will want to remain unbeaten throughout the season and rewrite the record books. Simon Grayson asserted, “I’m sure they won’t be expecting an easy game against us either. They have extra motives as they look to remain unbeaten in these last two games and would want to be the first team to go undefeated, so there is pressure on both sides.”

He added, “We have the spirit and the work ethic to beat them, and I’m sure Des (Buckingham) would have his players ready and up for it as they chase that (unbeaten) record. You can always draw back on past games but both of us are better teams now. The mentality and the time in the season is different. It’s all about what the two teams do on the night and that is what we are focused on as well.”




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