Ahead of the final league stage fixture, Bengaluru head coach Carles Cuadrat has declared that he will be fielding many players from the reserve squad on Wednesday.
“We have a lot of people who have stayed back in Bengaluru. We are coming here with a mix of players. Tomorrow, we are going to start four players in the starting XI who have played most of the season with the second team (BFC B). Three second team players will also start on the bench,” Cuadrat said.
“We have the privilege because we are for sure going to finish first in the league. We are not fighting for second or third anymore. We have left some players to save them the travel and avoid injuries. It’s a chance for us to give the fringe players an opportunity.
“I will not name the players right now but we have some first team players for tomorrow too. We have analysed the mental and physical conditions of the players along with the other coaches and accordingly we have taken the call on which players need a rest and which players need game time.”
The Spanish coach will be up against his compatriot and old friend Cesar Ferrando and Cuadrat only had great things to say about his Jamshedpur counterpart.
“I think Jamshedpur have been one of the best football playing teams in the ISL. They have been playing attractive football. I know Ferrando personally Spain and we have trained together in La Liga. I have a lot of respect for him because he knows how to play football with his team,” Cuadrat stated.
“Unfortunately, they haven’t qualified for the playoffs because they drew a lot of games which they deserved to win. That is football but I have to say I have a lot of respect for Jamshedpur. It will be a tough game tomorrow,” he added.
When asked to give his thoughts on improving Indian football, Cuadrat echoed Ferrando’s views and asked the stakeholders to focus on the grassroots.
“The ISL has a great mix of Indian and foreign players. But the gap in quality between the ISL and other divisions in India is too great. For example, our Bengaluru B team plays in Bengaluru Super Division and we win matches by 10-0 and 11-0. Over there, they don’t get to learn much, Tomorrow, many of them will play against the top players of Jamshedpur,” explained the Bengaluru coach.
“The main improvement has to come at the grassroot level. The state leagues and the local leagues have to improve so that players can learn. These things take time but the results will come if you have the investment and right direction. It took Spain more than 30 years to win their next title after winning the Euro in 1964.
“However, in between all those years they were constantly trying to improve the level of the football in the various leagues. You have to build a solid pyramid for players to progress in India and then the results will come. It might take 10 years or so but they will come.”