Cuadrat is a familiar face in the Bengaluru training ground, given he joined the Blues as an assistant coach in 2016. In fact, the Spaniard's set-piece training impressed Roca so much that the then head coach would let his assistant take control of set-piece routines. He is regarded highly by the management, which is one of the reasons he was appointed the manager after Roca left.
"Set-pieces have been an important part of our team’s attacking threat. We know that every set-piece can give us an opportunity to score goals," according to Cuadrat. And as the new head coach at the club, this is exactly what he would want to improve in the fifth season of ISL.
While Bengaluru have managed to use offensive set-piece scenarios to their advantage, they were found wanting at the back last season in a crunch situation. The crucial blip came in the final against Chennayin FC as two of the three goals conceded by the Blues were from corners. Mailson Alves wasn't marked properly and the Marina Machans defender could easily score twice in the first half.
At such crucial junctures of the season, it is the fine moments that could decide the outcome of a game. Correcting last season's errors would be a major part of Cuadrat's agenda for the new season and set-pieces are very much a part of it.
His set-piece expertise was highlighted after the first two matches of last season's ISL campaign itself. After scoring against Mumbai City, former player Edu Garcia had said, "Carles is the set-piece boss here. In the first half, he asked me to take short corners, because he noticed that they (Mumbai City FC) had tall defenders who could command the box. But I refused to listen.
“In the second half, he continued telling me the same and finally I gave it a chance. I saw that there was no Mumbai player outside the penalty area and that Udanta was close by. So I played him and he gave it back to me. I had enough time to take a shot at goal. Credit to both Carles and (head coach) Albert Roca. They place a special emphasis on set-pieces."
In the final of the ISL, Cuadrat was only watching the game from the stands as he had left the club midway due to an injury and had not joined back in an official capacity. Maybe his absence played a part.
Now that Cuadrat has total control over the proceedings at the club, the Blues will be expected to improve their defensive set-pieces and also perform better during set-pieces further up the field.
A set-piece mastermind is at work at Bengaluru FC.