The skipper has expressed his delight with the positive vibe around the camp.

Bengaluru FC and Indian national team captain Sunil Chhetri hopes to make the cut for the team while he recovers from the after-effects of COVID-19. The Indian international contracted the virus in March this year.

Since then, he has recovered from it and is working towards regaining full fitness ahead of BFC’s crucial AFC Cup second preliminary round fixture against Tribhuwan Army FC. “I hope I make the cut first. You can feel the after-effects (of COVID-19). You really have to be careful and start slowly,” Chhetri said while speaking to the Times of India.

Reflections on ISL 2020-21

Bengaluru FC endured their worst-ever Indian Super League season, as they finished seventh in the league table. This was also the first occasion when they missed out on qualifying for the playoffs. Speaking on the team’s lacklustre performance, Sunil Chhetri said, “I expect a reaction from the whole team. We were so bad and there is no point in pointing fingers at each other. There is so much to improve and this is a good time. Apart from Cleiton (Silva), Suresh (Wangjam) and few young ones, we all were bad. And the worst part was that we all went down at the same time.

“Then with the coach getting sacked, it was big turmoil. Heads started dropping, mistakes crept in, chances were missed, started pointing fingers at each other – and it made us weaker. We want to improve and rectify that,” the skipper further added.

Thoughts on AFC Cup 2021 opponents

The 36-year-old also called for the team to be careful of the threat that will be posed by the Nepalese outfit, Tribhuwan Army FC. He said, “We watched the Tribhuvan team beat the Sri Lankan team (SL Police FC) and they played quite well. You can see their unity and it’s not going to be easy. Also, it’s more about grasping what the coach wants from us and we are going to take one game at a time.”

Furthermore, Sunil Chhetri lauded the positive change Marco Pezzaiuoli has had on the team after being appointed as the manager post Carles Cuadrat’s dismissal. He was quoted, saying, “One good thing is the change and there is a good vibe at the club now. The youngsters are enjoying it and the time they got in ISL helped them get over their nervousness. A new manager means there is no prejudice and no previous baggage.”

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