We can win if we perform to our capabilities: Simon Grayson
The Bengaluru FC boss also gave an assessment of the youngsters in his team.
Bengaluru FC relished an outstanding 2022–23 season. The team won the Durand Cup and advanced to the Super Cup and Indian Super League playoff finals. However, the way they began this season was probably not what Simon Grayson and his team wanted.
In the opening game of their ISL 2023–24 season, Bengaluru FC faced a tough defeat to their well-known rivals Kerala Blasters. A mistake from Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and an own goal from Keziah Veendorp proved costly for the Blues as they went down taking zero points from their opening fixture.
Now, Bengaluru FC have a mighty Mohun Bagan in front of them. Head coach Simon Grayson attended the pre-match press conference in Kolkata today. Excerpts are below:
Simon Grayson’s thoughts on their match against MBSG
Simon Grayson shared his thoughts on how he is making plans to get the desried result. He said, “I think it’s very early in terms of analysing your performances too much. It was a tough game in Kerala because of the rivalry that is between the two teams. After every game we analyse what we need to do better both in possession and out of possession.”
Grayson further added, “We understand tomorrow night is going to be a really tough game for us because Mohun Bagan have probably got the strongest squad in the league. I think nobody would disagree that because they’ve got some really good players, strengthened their squad, the money that they spent in the summer, makes it a very difficult game. But we’ve got a good group of players, we’re confident in how pre-season has gone, and we’re looking forward to a tough game. But we know one thing that we can win if we perform to the capabilities that we know we can do.”
Thoughts on Sunil Chhetri’s absence
Simon Grayson spoke regarding Sunil Chhetri‘s unavailability due to national duty. The coach said, “He’s a very good player, a national hero, an icon of Indian football, and certainly somebody that you do miss when he’s not available. But other people last year stepped up and performed very well. And it has to be the same for this next game as well.”
The mentor also added, “No team is just a one-man team. So we have to deal with it, and move on. He’s a very proud Indian player who wanted to go and represent his country and full credit to him and the group that they got through to the next stages of the Asian Games.”
Assessment of young players’ performance
Simon Grayson’s statements made it clear that he is pleased with how the young players are taking charge and stepping up to perform. The tactrician expressed his thoughts regarding the young boys in his team. He said, “I think we made a conscious effort in the summer to reduce the age group, reduce the numbers within the squad, to give these lads the opportunity, because we’ve seen them in the second half of last season. Some played in the Super Cup, but they were training with us, and we felt that they were going to make a big impact going forward.”
“It is a big thing that they could play on a big pitch against a big opposition and that will only stand them in good stead for the ISL season. They got the opportunity to come off the bench last week and some may also start tomorrow, some may come off the bench again and that’s what we’re looking to do, give the youth the opportunity because at BFC, we’ve got a fantastic academy system where young players are produced.”