The Italian delivered his verdict after beginning his tenure with the Blues with a big win.

Marco Pezzaiuoli began his tenure as Bengaluru FC head coach in style, as the side demolished Tribhuvan Army FC 5-0 in their AFC Cup 2021 Preliminary Round Stage 2 Qualifier match on Wednesday. Rahul Bheke and Cleiton Silva scored a brace each, while Sunil Chhetri added another in a big win for the Blues.

Patience the key

Interestingly, all five goals came in the second half, as neither side could break the deadlock in the first 45 minutes. “It is very important that the team was very patient. It’s important when you play against a team that is maybe of a lower level,” quoted Marco Pezzaiuoli after the game.

“In the last area of the pitch (final third), we weren’t very accurate. We had some good chances in the first half and we developed in the second half. And then we scored five goals. The free-kicks and corner-kicks, we had trained upon them,” he added.

He went on to explain how the team is still to attain a more clinical approach in the final third. With minimal training sessions in the past couple of weeks, the Italian indicated that there is a lot of work to do.

Youngsters on show

It was a big evening, especially for the young faces in the squad, as they got an opportunity to make their mark in the senior team. Namgyal Bhutia, Roshan Singh, Damaitphang Lyngdoh all made their debuts on the evening. Speaking of their performance, Marco Pezzaiuoli said, “I saw Bhutia play well on the right side, he could’ve scored a goal.

“Roshan played on the right side of the defence – a new position for him. He played as a winger before and closed the side really well. He has a fine speed and can use both his feet, which is a high quality for building from the back.”

Further, he also praised young sensation Lyngdoh, who has been in the news since the past months for his heroics with the age-group sides. “Damait is a midfield player, who for me is ‘Small Iniesta.’ He is good on the ball, doesn’t lose much ball. It’s the first time for him to get an experience at this level.”

He went on to recognize the effort from Edmund Lalrindika and Ajith Kumar after they came on as substitutes and the team as a whole. However, there is a long way to go and speaking about how far Bengaluru FC are in terms of adapting to his style of play, Marco Pezzaiuoli sounded optimistic. “They know everything, you can see it on the pitch. The details will come when you play matches and have enough training sessions. It’s a high intensity style of football and so you need training sessions. This is the key point to develop,” he stated.

There was one more debutant on the evening for Bengaluru FC, their latest addition in defence – Yrondu-Musavu-King. It was a wonderful night for the Gabonese centre-back as well, earning a well-deserved clean-sheet. “He didn’t play for one year. But, he is very strong in defence and while building up as well, he created two-on-one situations.”

Life in the bubble

Bengaluru FC looked very confident during set-pieces, just as they did during the Indian Super League season too. Marco Pezzaiuoli explained that the team is working on their set-piece routines in training. On the other hand, it was a simply dominant display from the Blues, as they grabbed a place in the playoffs.

The newly-appointed tactician also reflected on how life in the bio-bubble is very difficult for the players. Minimal self-time turns out bad for their mentality. However, at the same time he admitted that the club are doing their best to create a good atmosphere for the team. “We have two weeks for the team to prepare for the Maldives team (Club Eagles) or the Bangladesh team (Abahani Dhaka). We want to go a step higher to get to the group stage,” he concluded.

Bheke’s comments

Rahul Bheke, who was on the top of his game, too, expressed his views on the result. “It’s always a great feeling to be on the scoresheet and I’m really happy that the boys did well. It’s our first victory with the new system, so I’m really happy.”

Playing as a right-back, Bheke spoke about how he adapted to the position well and was glad to help the team on both fronts. Bengaluru FC played a couple of friendlies, one of them against FC Goa, before coming into this game. The defender explained how crucial the two games were for the team to adapt to the new system and was happy that they showed the glimpses of the same against Tribhuvan Army.

Similarly, Marco Pezzaiuoli has insisted that his team will require some more training sessions to adapt to his system well. It will be interesting to see how things pan out for the Blues under the Italian.

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