Unbeaten and top of the table with a game in hand over the second-placed team, Bengaluru FC are exactly where Carles Cuadrat would have wanted them to be at the stage of the Indian Super League (ISL).
The Blues would want to extend their unbeaten run as they host Mumbai City FC in a top-of-the-table clash. Incidentally, their previous game – against the then second-placed NorthEast United FC – was also a clash between the top two.
Cuadrat is looking forward to this challenge of having his team tested against some of the best teams in a short span of time.
“It's a challenge to play teams that are placed second but it is an accident of the calendar and one that we'll face. The other teams are coming here with the intention to win and it's good for football and for the fans to witness.
“In football, there is always an area for improvement, as it is with any part of life. We are working well together and especially on how to attack against teams that defend well.”
The Spaniard was unhappy with all the talks of ‘luck’ doing rounds as Bengaluru have now scored a late goal for the third time in a row. The runners-up owe seven of their 23 points to goals after 75 minutes. It’s persistence and not luck that’s fetching results according to Cuadrat.
“I read a tweet a few days ago where I was quoted as saying that 'we were lucky'. This is not true. I have not said that. The truth is that we have been working very hard to get to these crucial moments. Behind those moments there is a lot of hard work, and there is a plan. We want to attack till the last moment of each game.
“I am not here to say that we are here and we are a big team. But there is a lot of work behind our performances and that has to be respected.”
When asked if the vantage point allows experiments with the starting line-up towards the later stages of the tournament, the 50-year-old iterated that the team will be taking it one game at a time.
“The real truth is that we are taking it one game at a time. We have no plans for January or February as yet. Reaching the playoffs is our target and we have a plan for the next two games, not after that. This team has quality and they don't give up. In every game, I've seen my players fighting until the very end. I've seen people calling it 'Cuadrat time', but it's not. Cuadrat's time is 90 minutes, from start to finish,” the Spaniard exclaimed.
The assistant-turned-head coach praised the cameo of Kean Lewis against NorthEast United but maintained that rotation in the squad is unlikely.
“We're very happy with the work that Kean Lewis has been putting in. Every time we have requested for a player to come from the bench, they have come on and put on a strong show, which is a good thing. I don’t think there will be a big rotation. Everyone except Miku is ready. So, we will see today what we can do.”