Bengaluru FC head coach Simon Grayson was delighted with his team’s performance as the Blues went past ATK Mohun Bagan with a scoreline of 2-1 in the latest fixture of the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, Kolkata on Sunday. ATK Mohun Bagan controlled the fair share of possession in the first half as the teams went into half-time with decent opportunities. Javi Hernandez broke the deadlock in the 78th minute only for Roy Krishna to add his name to the scoresheet in stoppage time. Dimitri Petratos scored in the dying moments to score the consolation goal for Juan Ferrando’s men.
Bengaluru FC registered their first-ever victory against ATK Mohun Bagan and after a five-game winning streak, the Blues have made their way into the playoffs spot. Grayson shed light on how a strong second half helped the team get all three points. “We had plenty of attempts on goal but not enough to work the goalkeepers. At half-time, I mentioned to the players that we were very good in possession. I thought our shape was very good. We limited some really good attacking players to very few opportunities. But on the reverse of it, we needed to be better in possession. We had to get the balance right to keep control of the ball better, which would allow us to get more opportunities and we certainly did that in the second half and we looked a threat every time we went forward in the second half,” Grayson said in the official post-match press conference.
The Blues have come strong at the most important time of the season with only three games to go in the season. Grayson stated how hard work and belief have helped the team to turn things around and now it’s time to stay humble and keep preparing. “Even when we were losing some games early on in the season, we weren’t playing too badly. We were making mistakes defensively and getting punished for them. And when we did get opportunities to score goals, we didn’t take them opportunities. What we did was we kept having the belief and kept working hard in training and confidence plays a big part in that all of a sudden you get a result and then your confidence gets better and bigger,” Grayson said.
“And then we come to where we are now with five games that we’ve won on the trot. We’ve got to make sure that we stay humble and we make sure that we keep preparing and working even harder because football is a difficult sport to keep continuing with success and we’re pleased with how things have gone,” he added. The five-game winning streak has picked Bengaluru FC from the 8th position in the ISL points table to the sixth position. The Blues have pushed Odisha FC to seventh place. Grayson believes that the current team is the strongest team they’ve had in the season and that a mix of foreign players and a strong bench is the anchor for the late push for the playoffs.
“That’s the fifth game on the trot that we’ve picked the same team tonight has probably been the strongest team that we’ve had out all season. It’s the first time all season we’ve had six foreigners available through injury all the time. So it just shows that we are getting players back from injury,” the Blues head coach stated. “And again other people when they get chances they have to take them. Siva was the same, he was in and out of the team and he took his opportunity. We’ve got a strong bench Pablo (Perez), Sunil (Chettri), you tender these are good players. We’ve got some very strong players that can look around and change again whenever we need to,” Grayson added.
The Blues take on Kerala Blasters FC in the next fixture, the game is filled with history and drama as both teams boast one of the most passionate and loyal fans in the league. Bengaluru FC head coach stated that the fixture against KBFC is expected to be a spectacle and the blues want to come out on top as the Yellow Army won the reverse fixture in December. “Well, we’ve seen a small nucleus of BFC fans that have been there with us all the way and now we go back tomorrow with our recovery session, ready for a massive game regardless of where both teams are in the division and this is always a massive game against Kerala, it will be nearly a sellout,” said the Bengaluru FC head coach.
“The extra spaces now that we’re in the playoffs. We’re in a good position. They’re trying to maintain a place in the playoffs. It should be a fantastic spectacle. Let’s hope that we come out on top because they beat us in the first game, let’s hope that we turn them over and then we play Mumbai City FC and FC Goa in the last two again so we want our fans to have something to cheer about,” Grayson added.