The skipper believes the Blues have to carry on with the success they have achieved so far and that it will be a challenge for them to defend the title this season.

Bengaluru FC and success travel in the same compartment. Since their launch in 2013, Bengaluru have won at least one trophy every season and have laid their hands on every domestic trophy they have fought for.

Since their entry in the Hero Indian Super League two seasons ago, they have set high standards too. They are the first and only team to top the league table and go on to win the final, a feat they achieved last season with a last-gasp winner against FC Goa.

No team in the history of the competition has successfully defended the title. ATK and Chennaiyin FC failed twice before, but nobody will bet against Carles Cuadrat and his boys doing what has seemed unachievable, so far.

“We want to win every competition we are a part of. There’s the ISL title to defend, and we know it’s only going to be tougher this season.  Importantly, we are back in Asian competition and we’ve shown on more than one occasion that we can compete and do well. We would like to keep giving a good account of ourselves there and challenge for the title,” said captain Sunil Chhetri.

Bengaluru have a formidable side this season with the addition of India international Ashique Kuruniyan, former Chennaiyin FC midfielder Raphael Augusto and Spanish striker Manuel Onwu. Sunil Chhetri, of course, is their biggest star, and given the form he enjoyed for club and country, it’s likely that the story will remain the same.

“When I signed with the club in 2013, I came with the responsibility of leading by example and bringing everything I have to the table in a bid to help the club win trophies. Six years on, nothing has changed. If anything, that role has only been underlined more emphatically,” said Chhetri, a game changer for both club and country with his goals, attitude and leadership abilities.

There is no reminding anyone that there is many a slip between the cup and the lip. Bengaluru FC would know it better as they had to return empty-handed after losing in the final to Chennaiyin FC in 2017-18 season at Sree Kanteerava Stadium, their fortress.

Chhetri and company will be on their toes throughout if they’re to do what champion teams like ATK and Chennaiyin FC failed in the past.