ISL 2018-19: "Hope to have Miku back in January," says Bengaluru FC coach Carles Cuadrat
Bengaluru FC are expected to miss Miku for five weeks due to an ankle injury, coach Carles Cuadrat confirmed ahead of the home fixture against FC Pune City on November 30 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.
With 19 points from seven matches, Carles Cuadrat's side have set the pace in the Indian Super League so far. However, the story isn't quite similar for FC Pune City, who have only mustered one victory in nine outings.
Not only have they been abysmal in front of the goal, they have also faced the most shots so far in the competition. It will surely be an acid test for the Stallions against the high-flying Bengaluru outfit.
The home side though are presently concerned about an injury to their star striker Miku, who is expected to be out for another five-six weeks. Meanwhile, Dimas Delgado, who was suspended for their previous game against Delhi, will return to the squad on Friday.
Speaking about the Venezuelan's injury, the Blues coach said:
"Miku is flying to Spain today, he is going to start his recovery there. We hope that we can have him from January. Miku is the kind of player you cannot substitute, because you have to change the way you play. But it's interesting for us to try things that we have been working on until now."
He added that Erik Paartalu would be available, while Albert Serran will face late fitness tests ahead of the fixture.
A strenuous fixture list looms large on Bengaluru as they play four matches inside the first two weeks of December. When asked about the challenges he sees going into these round of matches, the Spanish mastermind remarked:
"The competition is the way it is. We are in that moment now - six games in a period of two weeks. Miku is going to lose all of those matches, that is, around one-third of the competition. What I mean with that is that the calendar is (designed) in such a way (for us). In February again, we have six games."
"That implies, in December and February, will be two big and hectic months for us. We have to be prepared and if we are with the right number of points, we have to be ready for the playoff games. The challenge is to keep competing and fighting."
The Stallions' interim coach, Pradyum Reddy, also spoke about his team's issues. He affirmed that the root cause of their problems was their struggle against set-pieces.
"The defence has been an issue over the course of the season but you look at the last match, defensively throughout the 90 minutes, we were pretty well organized. We conceded from a set-piece, which has been an Achilles heel this season. The bigger concern is when we have played too defensively, we haven't managed to have an attacking threat."
According to Reddy, the key is to find the right balance between attack and defence as his side prepare to face an uphill task against the league leaders after having upstaged Jamshedpur FC last time out.