The Bangladesh head coach commented that the pressure will be on India as they face them on Monday.

The Bangla Tigers will look to make it two in a row, as they gear up to face favourites India at the SAFF Championship. Oscar Bruzon’s men are high on morale with a win against Sri Lanka and will look to give their best against the Blue Tigers.

Ahead of the high voltage clash, Bangladesh interim head coach Bruzon addressed the media at the pre-match press conference.

In his evaluation of the Indian national team, Oscar Bruzon highlighted how he was in the country for a couple of years and knows the football inside out. He also claimed the Blue Tigers to be the favourites for this tournament, but feels confident that his boys can put up a show.

“I have experience of working in India for a couple of years. So, India are the favourites to win the title according to the FIFA rankings. They have the best team in the SAFF competition and they have good players in different positions. But, tomorrow we are up for a tough game and are ready for it. Our boys are progressing on a daily basis, as I am focusing more on our strengths than thinking about the opponents.”

Bangladesh have won their first game against Sri Lanka and are off the mark on the points table. When quizzed whether he would play the same way against India, the Spaniard pointed out the difference between Sri Lanka and India. He explained how it will be a battle of possession with the Blue Tigers and also their superiority on the flanks.

“We will start the match with a win but they will play their first game, so they will try to have possession of the ball and try to make it a very energetic game in the first 20 minutes. They will look to press us high up the field, so we will plan accordingly,” Bruzon explained.

“Our idea will be the same that we had against Sri Lanka. We will try to have control of the ball, have a compact defence and will look to avoid quick circulation of the ball. Sri Lanka were a defensively compact unit, but they had their issues going forward, whereas India are totally different. India will fight with us for the ball, as they will try to quickly circulate the ball and they are also sharp on the wings. So, we will have to adjust accordingly and will hope that we capitalize on our chances, ” Oscar Bruzon continued.

The Blue Tigers will be the last team to feature in the SAFF Championship. Every other team, including Bangladesh, have already played one game. Hence, the Spanish tactician feels that there will be a slight disadvantage for India, as the Bangla Tigers are already off the mark with a win.

He stated, “Till now, Bangladesh have played the best football in this tournament. So, it is a disadvantage for India to play Bangladesh when they already have three points. If you see the standings then the pressure is on India to start with a win, otherwise all the teams are competitive. Our last match against Sri Lanka might seem easy, but I can assure you that they are one of the most tricky opponents. There is hardly any margin for error in this tournament. We are aware that we need to keep our focus throughout the 90 minutes.”

Bangladesh were hot and cold in their 1-0 win against Sri Lanka. They somehow managed to get over the line, courtesy of a spot-kick from Topu Barman. But, Oscar Bruzon feels that despite the confidence from the win, the Bangla Tigers are still a work in progress.

“If you speak about confidence then we are the best team in the world. There is no question about our determination and confidence and also we are doing the right things. But, logically, we are a team under construction. There are some positive points and some negative points, but I prefer to speak the positives at the moment.”

The Spaniard has plied his trade in India, Maldives and Bangladesh as a coach and had the luck to train all the national team captains in Sunil Chhetri, Ali Ashfaq and Jamal Bhuyan. While making a comparison, Bruzon said, “I think I am the only coach that had the opportunity to train Sunil Chhetri, Ali Ashfaq and Jamal Bhuyan- the three captains of the three national teams. So, if you ask me who would be my pick after eight training sessions, I would pick our captain Jamal. He has that responsibility to drive our boys forward. He will have a big role in midfield against India.”

Jumping from one topic to another, Bruzon highlighted the importance of Sunil Chhetri to this Indian team. However, the former Bashundhara Kings head coach is not worried, as he feels that he has defenders to neutralize the threat of the talisman.

” I can say a lot of things about Sunil Chhetri, he is a fox in the box, a very competitive player and a hard worker. He is someone who we need to control. He understands his position well inside the box and he will look to capitalize on any space given to him.

“But, in duels and physical battles, Sunil struggles. So, we will have a plan for him, he is the most dangerous player in the team. He has scored a lot of goals against us in the last nine games, so he will have that responsibility to be the leader upfront. But, I am not scared, we have better defenders looking to control him.”

Lastly, the Spaniard sparked some controversy, as he criticized his opposite number Igor Stimac for questioning the penalty call in Bangladesh’s first match against Sri Lanka. He also claimed that the Croatian is trying to play mind games. He then continued to highlight India’s struggles under Stimac over the last couple of years.

“I am absolutely confident. I think they are not feeling well, they are scared and they are playing mind games. They are trying to destabilize us by talking about our match and about the penalty. So, let them talk. They want to play with our mind, but our mind right now is strong.

“If I want to say something about India then see the results in the last few years. Stephen Constantine was the one who helped them climb 50-60 positions in the rankings. But, right now they are struggling. They are not doing well and slowly they are again going lower in the rankings,” Oscar Bruzon signed off.

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