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Roca does not blame Sandhu for the red card, Gregory expects high intensity game

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A win for Bengaluru FC will make them the table toppers while Chennaiyin FC is desperate in returning to their winning form.

Bengaluru FC host Chennaiyin FC in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday. The Blues have won four of their five fixtures so far and have turned out to be one of the most consistent teams in the league. They will be looking to extend their lead at the summit of the table when Chennaiyin pays them a visit.

Speaking to the media at the pre-match press conference was Bengaluru head coach Albert Roca, who expects a tough encounter against Chennai. “I expect a very tough game, because they (Chennaiyin FC) have shown that they are very competitive,” he stated.“Against Kolkata they have shown that they have very good players. They are also very good at set pieces. They have a very good defence and it will be very difficult for us. Also in attack they have Jeje (Lalpekhlua). They have a good balance.”

A Miku inspired Bengaluru FC got the job done against a tough FC Pune City outfit!

Roca refused to blame Gurpreet Singh Sandhu for receiving a red card in his last outing for Bengaluru but added that players should not repeat such mistakes either. “I asked him (Sandhu) what was behind that action,” Roca said. “Players in the national team have to be humble. They have to show every time that they are at that level that you cannot forget that it’s a game and a sport of errors. He did not do it on purpose for sure, but it is something that we have to learn.”

The 55-year-old also revealed that he will be rotating his players for some of the upcoming fixtures. “I will do some rotation tomorrow; I cannot tell you who now,” he said. “In five days we have another big game. So we have to manage as best as I can. People that have played, they would want rest.”


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After a three-match winning streak, Chennaiyin FC faced a setback in their last match against Mumbai City FC. Chennai will be looking to get back to winning ways against Bengaluru FC, the Blues are yet to be beaten at home in their debut Hero ISL campaign and will pose a threat to the visitors, if not countered well.

Chennai’s head coach John Gregory shared his views on how he expects Bengaluru’s resistance to be, in the pre-match conference. “Bengaluru FC are on a very good run at the moment. I think that Albert (Roca) is very fortunate to have a team that have been together for quite a long time. They do have a slight advantage over the other teams because of that. Since they have gone to the top of the league, they are now the target that everyone is aiming for. It can be easy to get to the top of the league, but to stay there is the more difficult part. We come up against a team that is three points ahead of us and we will be looking to take all three points against them. It has got all the hallmarks of being a fantastic football match. In Miku, they have got a striker who is scoring regularly so it is important to keep him quiet. But we are looking forward to the game very much,” he said.

Home side Mumbai City FC emerged victorious by a slender margin against Chennaiyin FC.

When asked if he would stick to his own style of play while facing such a strong team or adapt to the opponent’s approach, he explained, “Whatever situation arises. I have seen Bengaluru play on numerous occasions this season and they like to play a high-pressing game and they like to keep possession. I think Albert has built a team where every outfield player is comfortable in possession of the ball. From that point of view, we need to be able to expect that kind of match from Bengaluru tomorrow. I don’t think you will be seeing too much of the ball in the air tomorrow. And in a surface like this, it will be an interesting game.”

In their previous match against Mumbai, a 60th-minute penalty decided the course of events and eventually inflicted defeat on Chennai. Speaking about how his team hope to bounce back after the disappointment, the Englishman concluded, “It takes a little while. It probably takes a little while longer for me than for the players. They have each other, but I am on my own. It took me a good 48 hours to try and get that bad taste out of my mouth. But my job is to pick the boys up, dust themselves off and get ready for the next game. I have an outstanding bunch of players, and all 25 of them are fit.  So, we got it out of our system and just re-focused. Certainly, my players are a 100% determined to make up for last match’s disappointing result.”

Published: Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:00 AM IST

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