BENGALURU: Bengaluru FC coach Carles Cuadrat doesn’t like to worry about things. He finds a solution and his players deliver on the pitch. During the first half of the last Indian Super League (ISL) season, when Bengaluru’s main striker Miku was out injured, the team shared goal-scoring responsibility and they went on to win the title.
However, this time, even an optimistic Cuadrat hasn’t been able to hide his frustration after yet another poor attacking display on Friday, against Hyderabad FC in an away encounter. Despite taking the lead, Bengaluru were left to rue missed opportunities as the hosts equalised in the dying minutes of the match to hold Cuadrat’s men.
“I don’t want to be worried. But it’s true that we haven’t been sharp enough in front of goal. We’ve gone for the second goal every time we have scored the first. But we haven’t been successful always. It’s not nice that we couldn’t add to our lead and we accept that. If you analyse, we have had four draws but we dominated those games. We were not good enough in certain aspects and we have to work on that,” Cuadrat said.
One reason has been over-reliance on skipper Sunil Chhetri. The 35-year-old is Bengaluru’s only striker at present with foreign recruit Manuel Onwu out with an ankle injury. While Chhetri has scored three of Bengaluru’s six goals, he too hasn’t been at his sharpest. He has converted only three of his 17 shots this season while the other two primary attackers — Udanta Singh and Ashique Kuruniyan — have found the net only once in 21 shots combined. “This is what happens when a player of Miku’s capability leaves the team. We brought in Manuel who is injured. We have Sunil who is experienced and doing everything he can but Udanta and Ashique are young. They are still improving so we are working towards that,” he said.
However, it’s just not scoring that they have to work on. Bengaluru will have to equally emphasise on closing a game out. The Hyderabad match was the second instance (other than Goa) this season when Cuadrat’s men lost control and conceded a goal in stoppage time.
“There is a lot to work on. We have to make certain defensive adjustments and control our emotions during the last few moments as it allows the other team to create chances and come back. There are little things at the end of every game that will put you in a problematic scenario and we have to avoid that,” the Spaniard said.
Before the Blues go on a 10-day break, they will have one more opportunity to get things right when they face sixth-placed Odisha FC in Pune on Wednesday. And Cuadrat knows how tough Josep Gombau’s men can be.
“Odisha use the ball to try to make the game go in their favour. They try to take advantage of the quality of their foreigners. We have to try and set a plan to counter that,” Cuadrat signed off.