Bengaluru FC coach Marco Pezzaiuoli feels his side are prepared ahead of the 2021-22 Indian Super League (ISL) season. Pezzaiuoli addressed the media ahead of the the Blues' opening ISL 2021-22 match against NorthEast United tomorrow (November 20).
The Bengaluru FC tactician previewed the contest against NEUFC, stating they were a strong team:
"NorthEast is a strong team. Last season, they made the semi-final. Nobody expected it. The main players are still at NorthEast which means we will face a team who have a strong mentality, [are] very compact, different kind of tactics.
"They are very good in defense and don't give the opponent many chances. We try to create our chances against a strong Indian coach with a strong mentality. We need to be mentally very strong but play our game with the ball and without the ball."
The 53-year-old was also asked about his opinion on Bengaluru FC's preparations for the upcoming ISL season. Pezzaiuolo replied:
"I'm really satisfied and really happy the season is starting. For two months, we have been training, had pre-season - it's a long time. When you're in the bubble and there are no games, it's not easy to keep the mindset high."
The Bengaluru FC coach added:
"I think we have a good squad. Our wish is of course to reach the semifinals because in the last two seasons, BFC was not very successful. We need to change something, but it takes time. You can't switch on the light and say 'we are BFC' and the next season, we become the champion. We are trying to do our best, give our 100% every game and fight to get three points."
"You will enjoy it" - Pezzaiuoli on Bengaluru FC's style of football ahead of the 2021-22 ISL season
Marco Pezzaiuoli was also questioned about the style of play viewers can hope to see from Bengaluru FC in the upcoming ISL season. Pezzaiuoli replied:
"I think [it'll be] nice football. You will enjoy it and you will see a player going for 110% every game. Some coaches want different things but football is [a mix of] everything. Sometimes you are dominated in games, sometimes you counter, sometimes you press in midfield, defense."
The Bengaluru FC boss added:
"It is situation-based but we have prepared our players well for football and also the mental part, which is important. It is based on the opponent. We need to respect our opponent, have a match plan, and try to make our game style the way we want to play. The players know what the coach wants and I think the supporters will like how we want to play."
Pezzaiuoli was also asked about the involvement of the younger players on Bengaluru FC's roster in this season's ISL. The likes of Sivasakthi Narayanan and Damait Lyngdoh impressed during the AFC Cup and Durand Cup. They have been tipped to play a role in the ISL as well.
However, Pezzaiuoli feels the difference between the opponents they played in those two competitions and ISL will be massive. The tactician feels the youngsters have to be given time to reach the level required.
"During the season, I think a lot of young players try to keep this level and increase the level of playing football. But in pre-season, the opponents were not a high level - they were not ATK, Mumbai or NorthEast. It was a different kind of opponent but they still did well and that was the meaning of our tournament - to develop young players and take the next step between the second division and the first division."
"Now, every four days we will be meeting top teams of the Indian league. That is totally different than the Durand Cup. The pressure is also different. I think we will see a lot of young players this season but sometimes also, it takes a little bit more time."
Pezzaiuoli also informed the media that at least four players are definitely out for Bengaluru FC's ISL 2021-22 opener.
The likes of Parag Srinivas, Akashdeep Singh and Rohit Kumar are all set to miss the clash due to injury. Harmanpreet Singh is yet to join the squad while talismanic forward Sunil Chhetri could miss the game due to quarantine restrictions.
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However, Bengaluru FC will have their entire foreign contingent to call upon for their first game of the new ISL season.