ISL 2018-19: Bengaluru's Carles Cuadrat - Main job is done

ISL media
Bengaluru are looking to find a replacement for Erik Paartalu before the playoffs...

Bengaluru FC head coach Carles Cuadrat is pleased that his team has managed to achieve the first target for the season - qualify for the playoffs. 

Up next for the Blues is FC Goa who have the same number of points but occupy the top spot due to a superior goal difference. 

"We have achieved our first target of reaching the playoffs and we have two games which we have to manage," Cuadrat said before the match. 

The Blues' form has been patchy after the international break. They have won one game in their last five fixtures and recently lost 2-3 to Delhi Dynamos after conceding two late goals. 

"These are the games that let you learn. Normally, we are a strong team mentally. The last time we took the lead and lost, before in Delhi, was the final last year. I have to be honest; when we took the lead in Delhi, I thought we were going to win. Delhi did a good job and won the game. In the last fifteen minutes we conceded two goals, so maybe it is a good moment to learn from that.

"We are football professionals and we know that these things happen in football. We are resting key players.

"When the season started, all the teams wanted to be in the playoffs. Every team has got good foreigners, good coaches and good Indian players with the same target. As a club, we have reached that target for two seasons in the ISL, without having an all-or-nothing moment. Now we have two games, and we have to take it with a positive mentality.

Erik Paartalu

"Anything can happen, but the main part of the work is done. I have to say that I am very happy. The supporters can have a very nice game in the semifinals. I have been here, living the spirit of the AFC Cup semifinals and the ISL semifinals last year. Only four teams get to make the play-offs and we are one of them, and that makes me very happy and my players will be motivated.

"We want to become the champion, that is the target. We have to be smart. We will try our best to be in the final," Cuadrat said. 

Miku returned to the first team after a long injury layoff but has not been at his best. "Miku is having a sort of pre-season. He is trying to be fit again, and you can see that his numbers and performance aren't at the level that it was before the injury. But we have time. We hope he can be back to that level in the next two weeks."

Bengaluru will be without Erik Paartalu who has been ruled out for the season due to an injury. 

"This season, we have played 18 official games and Erik has played 17 of them. We saw how much we missed him in Delhi. We had players like Dimas, Xisco and Luisma instead, but none of them has that strength that Erik does.

"We are looking to bring in a player to replace him for the rest of the season because it is an important position that we want to make sure is filled in before the playoffs."