Sunil Chhetri and Miku were Bengaluru FC's key players last season and the duo has resumed their exploits. Despite their age, the two players have been performing at a high level consistently. Bengaluru FC gaffer Carles Cuadrat praised their work ethic which has ensured consistency at such a high level.
"They (Miku and Chhetri ) have been playing for a long time. We all know that they are brilliant players and very important for the team. They scored a lot of goals last year and we're trying to get them to the same level. Both Miku and Chhetri are excellent professionals. They have that hunger in them to work hard and achieve. They want to keep the supporters happy. It's their talent and focus that makes them click up front."
The Spaniard hailed Kolkata's sporting heritage and had positive things to say about ATK's run in the league, especially after the international break.
"I think ATK are a very good team. They earned seven points in the last three games, just as much as us. They have been good after the international break and have made a few changes which have helped them a lot. It's always nice to come to Kolkata because it's a city which loves the sport. All our games here have had that emotional factor as well. It's great to be a part of it."
After five glorious years at the club, John Johnson bid adieu and decided to ply his trades in ATK colours. Bengaluru FC will be missing a key player and dressing room presence in the Englishman but Carles believes that new signing Albert Serran has as much to offer.
"Johnson's not just a good player, but an excellent person who brings in a lot into the dressing room. He was very important for Bengaluru in the past. Serran who has come in is an excellent professional as well and brings in his qualities."
Bengaluru FC were humbled by Altyn Asyr in the AFC Cup before the ISL began. The approach to the AFC cup and Indian Super League (ISL) is different as is their format. The team has worked on tackling the ISL in a different manner according to the 50-year-old.
"We are a team who has fought for every competition we've played in. When we reached the AFC Cup final two years ago, it was our dream to reach that stage again, but we knew it was never going to be easy. The opponents at that stage of the competition are really good teams. This year we lost to a team which went on to qualify for the final. They were a very strong side who were more settled than us since we were playing our first competitive game of the season. After the AFC Cup, we had time to re-adjust and work together ahead of the ISL. It is a long competition and isn't the same as the AFC Cup knockouts where you play home and away. So we came into the league with a different approach and having worked on our shortcomings."
It's too early to talk about favourites and Carles believes that making it to the playoffs should be treated as the first priority.
"I don't think we are favourites to win the trophy. I think we have to fight and work very hard to qualify for the playoffs. Because it's those three games which decide whether you win the trophy or not."