ISL 2018-19: 'Goals Have to Come from Midfield in Miku's Absence' - Bengaluru FC's Erik Paartalu

  • Paartalu also spoke about Rahul Bheke's omission from the Indian national team for the Asian Cup
Rohith Nair
Modified 23 Dec 2018, 18:47 IST

Erik Paartalu scored Bengaluru FC
Erik Paartalu scored Bengaluru FC's only goal to beat ATK 1-0 [Image: ISL]

Bengaluru FC beat ATK 1-0 in their Indian Super League encounter at the Kanteerava Stadium on Thursday night and it was Erik Paartalu who scored the winner for the home side.

The Australian midfielder rose above the ATK defence in the 37th minute to head home Kean Lewis' cross and that goal was enough to separate the two sides and also stretch the Blues' unbeaten run to 11 games.

Sportskeeda caught up with Paartalu after the game to talk about his goal, the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, and his thoughts on Rahul Bheke's omission from the national squad.

Two games, two goals against ATK this season. You're making a habit of scoring against them.

"Yeah, I don't know what it is," he says with a laugh. "Just luck I guess, but I was in the right place at the right time today. Keano (Kean Lewis) put a great ball in and I just managed to make a good run and get on the end of it.

"I'm super stoked to get my second goal in 10 games so that's a good return for me and let's hope I can continue that in the next part of the season."

Was that run purely based on instinct or was that something coach Carles Cuadrat asked you to do? Because you're usually in the box only for set-pieces.

Correct. I think now there's more emphasis on midfielders making runs, particularly with Miku out [injured]. The goals have got to come from midfield runners and, obviously, it's got to be a good quality ball. Keano came in today and did a fantastic job and it was just a good run."

This was Paartalu
This was Paartalu's second goal of the season with both coming against ATK [Image: ISL]

Bengaluru FC are still unbeaten in the league after 11 games. How long can they sustain that run?

"It's not something we talk about. We're very proud of that fact. Now we can sit back and relax for a couple of weeks and enjoy that.

"But when you're at the top, everyone wants to beat you. It's just about being as consistent as possible. If we get beaten one day, we get beaten. But it would be nice to go a few more games unbeaten for sure."

With a long break coming up, you'll be keeping an eye on the AFC Asian Cup. What do you think are India's chances and what are Australia's chances?

"Yes, correct, I'll be watching with great interest. Australia has lost Aaron Mooy for the tournament which is a massive blow but I think we've still got enough quality to do well. South Korea, Japan, and Iran are always going to be the good teams up there."

Also read: Knee injury rules Huddersfield's Mooy out of Asian Cup

"India's just got to get through the group. Thailand and UAE are going to be tough games. Bahrain [is] something they can get something out of for sure. Let's see. These tournaments are made for upsets.

You were quite vocal on Twitter about Rahul Bheke's omission from the list of probables for the Indian national team.

"It's difficult as a player to comment because it's not my place. In the social media world, you have a bit more of a voice. But you can see the supporters also giving their input.

"I just don't think the statistics lie. A guy who has done so much for this team, this club, for Indian football - to not even get a chance to be viewed by the coach at a camp... It's not for me to say but we're disappointed."

"I know Rahul is but he put in a great shift tonight and it just shows how professional he is. He gets about his job and moves on."

Rahul Bheke played as a right-back and later as a left-back against ATK [Image: ISL]
Rahul Bheke played as a right-back and later as a left-back against ATK [Image: ISL]

Also read: Twitter reacts as India coach Stephen Constantine leaves out Rahul Bheke in 34-man probables

A word on the Bengaluru FC fans who turned up today?

"Fantastic! Any day of the week we've played here - Mondays, Sundays, Thursdays - they've been here for us. Let's just hope they can continue supporting us. We're going to need them towards the end of the season because we're trying to go one step further this year."

Published 14 Dec 2018, 09:30 IST
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