ISL 2018-19: Bengaluru FC on top but coach Carles Cuadrat wants his players back soon
Bengaluru FC have used 18 of their 25 players this season but coach Carles Cuadrat says he doesn't prefer to make too many changes to his Playing XI.
The 1-0 win over Delhi Dynamos on Monday was perhaps the first time that Cuadrat had to make tactical changes to his side. Dimas Delgado was out because of a red-card suspension and that resulted in Nishu Kumar starting as a midfielder instead of a full-back.
An injury to Miku also handed a chance to Chencho Gyeltshen, while Erik Paartalu - returning from a toe surgery - was on the bench.
Bengaluru FC bagged the three points from the game and moved to the top of the table, courtesy a late Udanta Singh striker on Sunil Chhetri's 150th appearance for the club. However, the Blues are expected to miss the services of Albert Serran, who limped off in the second half to be replaced by Gursimrat Singh Gill, who made his first ISL appearance for the club this season.
Cuadrat has faith in his entire squad but hopes that the injuries to Miku and Serran are not serious.
"We've always been using the same team during the season because we have been getting the results with that squad," Cuadrat said after the Delhi Dynamos game. "But this time, it was the time to rest some players. When you lose players to injury or suspension like Miku and Dimas (Delgado), you have to adjust everything.
"What I asked my players to do, they worked in those positions. You can't demand the same level of football as others (when it's not their natural position) - it's difficult.
"We used Sunil in the middle and he played in a lot of positions. He was playing as the No 9 in the side. The guys were trying to get the points and we're happy because we got the results."
The coach added that he's unsure when Miku would return to the squad. The Venezuelan, who has been in fine form, has missed BFC's last two games to an ankle injury.
"We still don't know (when he'll be back)," Cuadrat said. "Let's see this week what's going on and we'll get the info about that.
"I hope that this is not the kind of injury where you lose a player for a long time. We have a squad that's working well for us.
"It was a special (different) moment for the season because of a red card and the two injuries to the foreign players. But now we have Albert Serran also out with some abductor muscle problems.
"It was an intense game. I hope that we get them back soon."
Cuadrat has had to shift the roles of Sunil Chhetri and Chencho as a result of Miku's absence and the Spanish coach said Chencho is slowly adapting to the BFC style of possession-based football.
"He's (Chencho) a young player," Cuadrat said. "He's trying to help us a lot.
"He has good qualities for a counter-attacking game. It's not the game we practice here but he's trying to get better in possession-style football and we're hoping he gets better.
"I am happy seeing the improvement in his game from the starting of the season until now. I can see that he's improving a lot and he's contributing to the team. He has to keep working like this (to get better)."
Explaining the reason behind taking off Rino Anto for Erik Paartalu, Cuadrat said: "We didn't want to use (start) Erik (Paartalu) because he returned from surgery. He was not practising with us.
"It had been 3 weeks without training for him because of the international break also. We didn't want to demand full effort from him.
"But after that first half, we saw that the team needs his game in the midfield. Sunil was helping us there but he's not comfortable in that position. He told me that you could put Erik on.
"I am happy that in the end he helped us get the 3 points and didn't get any further problems because of the injury. We're happy with the situation."