ISL 2017/18: Bengaluru FC coach Albert Roca doesn't have revenge on his mind ahead of Chennaiyin FC clash
Albert Roca gave due credit to Chennaiyin FC.
Local hostilities will be renewed when Bengaluru FC take on Chennaiyin FC in the ISL tomorrow evening. Albert Roca's Bengaluru side are in the best possible place coming into the final few matches, sitting at the top of the table with 27 points
When the two teams met earlier in the season, it was Chennaiyin who stole the points with a late winner in front of Bengaluru's home fans. Speaking to media ahead of the game, Roca though believes tomorrow's fixture is not about going for revenge.
"The fact that we lost against them was not a disaster. They are a good team," said Roca.
"You can’t win all the games given how tough some of the teams are. Chennaiyin are a tough team. It (the earlier result) won’t affect tomorrow’s game. We have to go into the pitch with a more clear idea to achieve another result," the Spaniard added.
Bengaluru comes into tomorrow's game in fine fettle, on the back of two consecutive away wins against NorthEast United and ATK. And they will be hoping to make it a hat-trick of away wins tomorrow. Despite the results, Roca did admit the travelling was not ideal and wished there was more time between games.
"It is a long travel to Kolkata and now here. It is not the best way to prepare for a game. It should be at least 4 days before another game. We have another game against Goa coming up. For all the teams, there should be a bigger break but we have to accept the calendar. We are also playing the AFC Cup. We can’t complain too much," Roca said.
Bengaluru and Chennaiyin sit first and second in the table ahead of tomorrow's crunch clash, but Roca is not jumping to any conclusions, dismissing the notion that his side along with Chennaiyin were the two best sides in the competition.
"Let’s be honest. The league is not finished and we can’t say who are the best teams. There is a playoff as well. The important thing is to know that nothing is done. We have a lot of work to do yet. To be in the first position is advantage regards to qualifying for the playoffs," he exclaimed.
Roca in the past has been quite critical of the officiating this season. Even in their last game, despite a comfortable 2-0 win over ATK, defender Rahul Bheke was shown a red card. Roca touched upon the subject once again when Bheke's red card was brought up, saying improvement was needed in that department.
"To be a referee is not easy. If you saw the game, Bheke did not deserve the red card and he clearly touched the ball," he said. "It could be a difficult moment for us. I was not happy with the decision. To make a mistake is human, but you need to improve. If you are not professional, you don’t deserve to be a referee.
"It is not easy. The VAR is not here, but is now coming in every top league," Roca added.
Despite leading the table some of Bengaluru's wins have come without them being at their very best, but Roca believes it's part of the game and that sometimes it depends on the flow of the game.
"I want my players to do their best every moment. It is impossible to play the best in all games," said Roca. "Even then, we are winning games. The team was relaxed after the own-goal against ATK and we didn’t push much. Sometimes, it goes against you. We were a little bit better in the second half. It is difficult to get control of the situation sometimes."
Bengaluru will be without the suspended Bheke tomorrow and also without the services of Braulio Nobrega who is out for the season, something Roca called "a shame." Harmanjot Khabra is back however after serving his suspension.
One player who will be available is their captain Sunil Chhetri. Tomorrow's clash will see two of India's top strikers take the field with Chhetri in Bengaluru colours and Jeje Lalpekhlua in Chennaiyin's corner. Chhetri scored Bengaluru's goal when the two sides last met.
"Chhetri is very important to our team. He could be a legend and he is humble and is always trying to do his best," Roca said in praise of India's captain to conclude matters.