ISL 2018-19: "With Miku, the attacking stats will be better," says Carles Cuadrat
Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters are set to unlock another chapter in their bitter rivalry on 6 February at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium. Both sides have endured mixed fortunes thus far in the season, but the prodigious nature of this fixture is most certain to grant us with an enthralling encounter.
The Blues resumed normal services with a hard-fought victory against the Highlanders and know full well that three points against the Blasters will all but book their spot in the knockout stages of the ISL.
Kerala on the other hand, have experienced a strikingly bizarre season in terms of almost everything - from the predictability at the back and the frustration of the fans - to the departure and sacking of a couple of first team stars and their beloved David James.
BFC have been grinding out results in their favour, a lot like what underlines the nature of a champion team. However, they have been subject to criticism due to the over-reliance on Miku and the lack of goals.
But Carles Cuadrat, who addressed the media ahead of the clash, believes otherwise. The Spaniard claimed that he is extremely proud of the team's character.
“I have been hearing coaches say that they have been playing very well and they have played better than Bengaluru. But in the end, we have been getting points in almost all our games, except the Mumbai game. So, this means something. The players put everything in every game.”
“If you look at the league table, you will see that we have won nine games and not won just four. Goa – who are a brilliant team – have won seven games and not won seven games. NorthEast- who are fighting for a play-off spot – have won six games and not won eight games.
Regarding the attacking firepower and Miku, he added:
“With Miku, the stats in attack will be better. We are putting a lot of intensity in defence. I’m happy with the work done by Sunil (Chhetri) and Udanta (Singh).
At the beginning, we had some problems with Nishu (Kumar) and Rahul (Bheke) as they were adjusting to maintain the line. But now all four defenders are doing well. You can see the work that we have been putting in."
As far as the team news is concerned, the Bengaluru gaffer stated that we could see Miku feature after a long injury lay-off. He remarked that new signing Luisma Villa was the best option they had, but also indicated that he might not start in the match day squad.
“We saw the market and the options we had. Luisma was the best player for the kind of work we are going to do. I feel that we have had problems in maintaining possession of the ball. He just arrived and is training with us, so I don’t know if he will play tomorrow. It’s not easy because he just arrived. The players are doing the tactical work and he is just receiving the information."
Nelo Vingada's men, who have a harrowing record against Bengaluru, know that they have a task on their hands. The coach affirmed that he will tinker with his line-up a little bit, with Anas Edathodika and Lalruatthara set to be sidelined.
As pride is all Kerala are left to play for, Vingada stated:
"I hope that we can go up by one or two positions. Now we need to look at recovering the confidence. I was happy that we had a good game against ATK. We created good chances and the attitude was very positive.
With these players, we need to perform better, and I will find a good combination of players for the Super Cup. It is tough but we can fight to win.”