Bengaluru FC will be up against Bhutan National League champions Transport United FC in a must-win AFC cup qualifying round tie at the Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Tuesday.
In the first leg of the tie that ended without goals, Albert Roca decided to rotate his squad and give an opportunity to the fringe players to prove their mettle. Despite the goalless draw in the first leg, the head coach defended his decision to rotate.
"I cannot blame my players as they are good strikers. But they have to play more and be in the rhythm. Unfortunately, they are not playing much, as there are players who are playing in the (Indian) Super League instead of them. But I hope these games will warm them up for the season. They are young and I hope they will be better tomorrow (Tuesday) than the first leg," defended Roca.
The former assistant coach at FC Barcelona said that he was likely to rotate again, pointing to a busy schedule ahead in the coming months.
"We have to take advantage of our squad depth. In the first leg, we had started with many players who had not started much in the Indian Super League. It is necessary to make rotations as our calendar in February is very difficult. In the first leg our players were quite good, so tomorrow we just have to be confident to knock them out," stated Roca.
The head coach also shared his opinion on the Bhutanese opponents.
"In the first game, they were a well-organised team with a clear system who did not take many risks. They play long balls and attack on the counter. We have to be aggressive in the transitions to get a positive result tomorrow," opined Roca.
The Federation Cup-winning coach also asserted the importance of AFC Cup to Bengaluru and also believes that the upcoming rounds will get more difficult.
"Tomorrow (Tuesday) we have to win and progress to the next round. Right now it is different as Bhutan has only one foreigner. We know how difficult and important it is to progress in AFC cup. I don't want to give up in these first rounds and yet, I want to give an opportunity to these players. It is important to win for us as well as for Indian football," concluded Roca.