Bengaluru FC face East Bengal on Saturday evening in what promises to be an intriguing tie. The Blues come into the game on the back of three consecutive defeats while the Red and Gold picked their first win earlier this week.
Carles Cuadrat has been relieved of his coaching duties and for now, Naushad Moosa, who served as the assistant coach, has been handed over the reins. The former Air India coach has promised that Bengaluru FC will play an entertaining brand of football under him, starting this weekend against East Bengal.
“East Bengal are a decent side. They are getting better. Bright (Enobakhare) is a talented player. We will be playing more entertaining football. We can assure you that. We have to remain compact when we lose the ball. We have had fewer clean sheets. The focus is not to concede early goals,” said Moosa.
Bengaluru FC are placed fifth on the table and still are very much in the mix for qualifying for the play-offs. In fact, their next seven matches are against teams who placed below them.
Moosa said that while the club is reeling from the embarrassment of three defeats and the departure of Cuadrat, the players are very much focussed on getting three points against the Kolkata outfit. He added that they will approach the game aggressively.
“It is not an easy situation for the club. We are professionals. We have an important game tomorrow. The players know it. In these seven years, this has happened for the first time that we have lost three games in a row. It is not easy for them to digest. They want to bounce back. We have to leave behind everything and focus on the next game.
“I had my first training yesterday. There were lots of positives. Looking forward to a more positive and aggressive game tomorrow,” he mentioned.
Moosa stated that his team will look to start on the front foot and look to attack East Bengal from the off.
“The work that Carles and (Albert) Roca have done is amazing. There is nothing more I have to do. We do not have enough time. We play two games in quick succession. For now, it is just simple. Play the way we have been playing. Concentrate on having the ball and try to play more attacking football,” he shared his thoughts.
Bengaluru FC have scored 12 goals in nine matches this season. Moosa believes that more players must enter the final third if they are to make the most of the little chances that they are creating.
“That is one part we are working on (not scoring many goals). We have gone through all videos. We felt that we were falling short in numbers in the attacking third. We will look to have more numbers in attacking third and look to create more scoring opportunities,” he said.
Harmanjot Khabra is suspended for the game against East Bengal which means Moosa will field a makeshift right-back or probably move Rahul Bheke in that position.
“For tomorrows' game itself, we will have two or three youngsters those who will be playing. But at the same time, we don't want to bring in too many changes. After losing three games there is pressure on all player but I am trying to keep them relaxed. Khabra is out with four yellows. We will have a youngster there. Maybe we need some more time, and we will bring in more youngsters,” he mentioned.
Moosa admitted that he has spent a lot of time with Cuadrat in order to seek his inputs. He has also had meetings with most players to establish a working relationship with them which will be mutually benefitting.
“To be honest, I had two sleepless nights. It’s not easy to manage a team like Bengaluru FC. The expectation is so high. The pressure has sunk in. But the players are working so well, it is giving me confidence that they want to do it for me. With a positive result tomorrow, the pressure will go down more for me and I can work with more confidence.
“I have been meeting every player. We are trying to understand what they feel me for me as a coach. If they don't have the respect, I doubt they will give their best. After talking I felt really good. I was with Carles till 12 at night yesterday. We were discussing about each and every player. We are not finished as we have 11 games in hand. We will work as a team, try to win and try to be in the playoffs,” he signed off.