Bengaluru suffered their first defeat of the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) this season following a 0-1 result against ATK Mohun Bagan on Friday.
The Blues were the second-best team for the majority of the game and failed to breach the ATK Mohun Bagan defence to come up with an equaliser after David Williams broke the deadlock.
Coach Carles Cuadrat, though, praised the efforts of his players of matching ATK Mohun Bagan in intensity. He also explained why shuffled his squad in the important tie.
"It has been a difficult December with five games in 21 days. We tried to put some fresh legs (on the field) and new players and I gave the opportunity to Udanta (Singh) and (Deshorn) Brown to start and also put (Leon (Augustin). Rahul Bheke also started after two matches. We tried to get the same physicality of ATK Mohun Bagan and in that aspect with what the players showed, I am happy. They tried until the 95th minute to score. I think we were okay," said the Bengaluru boss after the match.
The Spanish coach suggested that the quality of David Williams and Roy Krishna in ATK Mohun Bagan's attack proved to be the difference between the two sides as the attack was efficient.
"Every game is different but at the end, little margins make the difference. The quality of Williams and Krishna have punished us. They get small chances and finish the game."
Cuadrat said that his team did not allow ATK Mohun Bagan to create many chances in the match. He also mentioned that after getting the lead in the first half, Habas' side became resolute at the back and was difficult to break down.
"If you see ATK Mohun Bagan, they also did not create many chances. We know before the game that it would be a gritty game, a 0-0 or 1-0 and it has been always like this. If they get the goal first they will get comfortable. We also tried to get the goal, we put a lineup with good energy. They scored before and then it was difficult to break the defensive line," said the Spaniard.
Suresh Wangjam, who has been a regular member of Bengaluru's starting lineup this season, came on as a substitute in the match. Explaining his decision to start with Udanta, Cuadrat suggested, "I knew in the second half that there will be more spaces created for Suresh so that was the match plan. It was working well. Udanta in the first half arrived and put in good crosses.
"He was doing his job and then in the second half we replaced him with Suresh and it almost worked because we created the chance with Leon and Suresh and Cleiton had almost scored."
The 52-year-old coach was satisfied with the attitude and physical intensity of his players despite the loss.
"We take a lot of positives. They are a very competitive team. We knew that ATK Mohun Bagan will be fighting for the play-offs and we were close to getting something from the game. The players had a very good attitude and they showed that they understand the match plan and they showed that they are physically ready so I am very happy with the team," the Bengaluru manager signed off.