Carles Cuadrat: Carrying on the legacy
After rules were changed by the Indian Super League regarding the appointment of the coaches, Bengaluru FC saw the return of an old face at the helm. Carles Cuadrat was appointed as the head coach of Bengaluru FC on 14th June 2018. He was an integral part of Albert Roca's coaching staff from 2016 to 2018 but had to depart from the club due to health concerns.
When Albert Roca decided that he would not renew his contract at the club, BFC had to appoint someone who knew the roots of the club and would take the club to the further highs. Carles Cuadrat knew that it would be difficult for him to replicate what Roca did at the club, but was optimistic about his earned opportunity.
Now as we look at the points table, we can say with conviction that he has added on to the work done by Roca. He has continued the philosophy of his predecessor and has managed to make his hard work look effortless.
The style of football under Cuadrat has been similar to Roca, but the way the players have expressed themselves on the pitch has been reflected in the results. BFC are the only unbeaten team in the league and top the table with 27 points from 11 games, 3 points ahead of second-placed Mumbai City FC but with a game in hand.
The midfield duo of Dimas Delgado and Erik Paartalu have been key to the success in the league. When these two players combine, it becomes difficult for the other teams to contain them.
Not only has Cuadrat revamped the midfield, but he has also managed to get the best out of players who can play at multiple positions. Rahul Bhekke, Nishu Kumar and Harmanjot Khabra have been used in the midfield, and have been given defensive duties either as centre-backs or as wing backs. This has given the team some fluidity, and the team has managed to get results even when key players were suspended or injured.
Carles has also used a variety of formations. He started off with a 4-3-3 with Miku, Chhetri and Udanta leading the attack. After Miku's injury, he has been using either 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1, with Chencho being the centre-forward, or playing alongside Sunil Chhetri. In the last game against ATK, we even saw how Xisco Hernandez was used as a false number nine with Chhetri and Udanta on the wings.
He does not like to experiment much, because he feels he approaches every game with a plan and in that scenario the room for experiments is minimal. In spite of this specific approach to every game, he has given a chance to youngsters like Semboi Haokip and Gursimrat Singh Gill.
Not only has been good tactically, but he has also been honest to the fans and to the press.
Carles was always a fan favourite, but now he has his own celebration with the West Block Blues. The fans seem to love their Spanish manager and have been very vocal about it.
When Carles Cuadrat was appointed, it felt like the torch was being passed on to him from Albert Roca. He had taken forward the legacy and has done a commendable job. The business end of the season is yet to arrive, but it looks like BFC have confirmed a spot in the playoffs. The question with the good work continued, can Carles lead them to the missing trophy in their cabinet?