It was one of those special nights at the Kanteerava: Cuadrat

Bengaluru Marched Into The Final Of The Indian Super League For A Second Successive Season And Carles Cuadrat Spoke To The Press After The Triumph…

On his message to the team at half-time…

I think we did a great job from the first minute. We had a feeling that the game would be like this, and we were patient with the ball. We were trying to score, because we knew that they were going to defend and go on the counter attack. I think that it was a typical second leg of the semi-final, where the opponents want to hurt you on the counter, because they have the lead and you have to score. At half-time I told the players to stay calm and keep trying, because we created some very clear chances in the first half. The players did a fantastic job and I am happy for the supporters. It was one of those special nights at the Kanteerava, and I am really happy to see that.

On his first season in-charge of the Blues…

I am very happy because I know how big a challenge this was. I am grateful that the club gave me the opportunity, and we have been competing very well all throughout the year. We have played with a plan. For the last few games, we stuck to the plan and we did that both physically and mentally. I will also say that our plan was working well at 3-0, but we are trying to put in more numbers in the team.

Our vision is to increase the number of players who play and now we have just one step to finish. I think that the final will be really tough, because Goa, who has a great chance to make it, is a wonderful team but it is always nice to reach a final.

On crossing the final hurdle this year…

You know, all finals are special. There is a lot of tension, and there is a lot of competition from either side. We are going to plan and try to be in the best shape physically and mentally. But at the end, you have to play football and with different aspects of the game coming into play, there are things that can change the game. We have to make a plan for everything. Our plan worked very well today. We practiced playing with Miku and Sunil as strikers along with Xisco and Udanta on the wings during training. I put Luisma on for Juanan because he can be an offensive player as well.

On utilizing more of the flanks tonight as compared to the first leg…

Yes, that was the plan, to utilize more space on the flanks, and we were working with that. We know that with our defenders we can take advantage of that kind of position. I have to say that in the first leg it was quite disappointing with Udanta and Sunil, because they could not go too wide, but this time it was different.

On the importance of staying patient despite trailing in the tie…

We know that 1-0 in the 96th minute would have been enough for us, so we knew we didn’t have to go crazy and go for the ball, so that was the plan. We know that physically they are stronger than us, but they had some injuries. Ogbeche got an injury, and it is always very sad to lose a player on the pitch, and their team didn’t arrive here in the best of conditions.

We have had the privilege to make rotations and stay fresh. I told my players that we could even be going into extra-time and we have to be ready for a long game. There are moments where you have to risk and go for the goal. Sometimes you do it fast and make a mistake. If you remember just before I made the change, Juanan and Xisco were alone and Juanan had a great chance.

If we had scored there, we wouldn’t have brought Luisma on. We have to be careful about making that decision and I want to say that the officials today were working very well. We had the right attitude from the players so I am very happy.

On Miku’s performance on the night…

I think that he is one of the most talented players in the ISL. He is a great player and we know sometimes that strikers create and miss chances, but you have to be very strong mentally to be in that moment to not go down. He is the kind of a player who is mentally very strong. He has played in really important games in his career, so he knows how to manage the game.

On versatility in the squad…

I am lucky because I have players like Khabra, Bheke and Nishu who are helping us a lot. With Udanta and Sunil, you have more responsibility because they play in a specific position. But we have been using the other three a lot this season and they have been wonderful with their ability to play in the different positions depending on the team’s requirements. We have a few foreigners who are veterans of the game, and have a lot of experience. They know how to manage the situation, so it’s always a good thing.