FC Bengaluru United (FCBU) became the first team to make it to the knockout stages of the 130th Durand Cup, when they beat Indian Air Force 4-2 in a thrilling Group A encounter, at the Kalyani Stadium on September 9th.
Head Coach Richard Hood is happy with the way the Durand Cup has turned out for the boys so far.The Durand Cup has provided FC Bengaluru United with much-needed exposure, giving them the chance to compete against teams who step onto the pitch to win. Competing against some of the stronger teams has helped the team improve their performance throughout the tournament.
While addressing a virtual press conference, Coach Richard Hood said:
"I think as mentioned we've had a pre-season without any consequences or real matches, the Durand Cup has ticked those boxes for us, giving us the exposure against teams that want to win matches as badly as we do. We came up against some strong teams in the group stages, especially Mohammedan SC who have done well in Calcutta and I League, they have ambitions to walk away with Durand as well. Coming up against a competition like that has helped us identify certain aspects of the game,"said head coach Richard Hood.
Luka Majcen and Pedro Manzi 's influence on the team:
FC Bengaluru United have signed two foreign players, Luka Majcen and Pedro Manzi for the 2021/22 season. Luka comes in with a very big physical profile and a very strong scoring record whereas Pedro is a very intelligent player with a lot of technical qualities. Both footballers have very different styles and personalities.
Head coach Richard hailed both players and termed them leaders with different styles and called them "through and through winners." Coach stated that both the players expect the entire team to play a good brand of football.
Coach Richard Hood feels complacency should not hit FC Bengaluru United during the Durand Cup knockouts:
Playing against teams like Mohammedan and pulling up a game like that, it was important for FC Bengaluru United to prove a point against an old club like Mohammedan. That match has given the team the confidence to compete against I-League teams and play up to that level.
"Confidence is sky high right now. The whole point is that we keep it going, and not get ahead of ourselves and not let any complacency slip in. There's enough experience in the team to know that one game doesn't feed the other in terms of performance. The next game will be of different context and start from scratch. Looking at the entire campaign we have been able to respond well. It's been very hot in Calcutta and it rained a lot during the Mohammaden game and it was a slushy pitch. No one complained and did their jobs well," said Richard.