We know the battle that awaits us in Kolkata: Cuadrat

The Boss Discusses A Tactical First Leg, Performances, A Sending Off And More…

On the importance of the win following Wednesday’s result…

I think the guys have shown a big heart because a lot has been happening this season. We had to finish with ten men, Nishu’s foul looked more like a challenge that was shoulder against shoulder, so we will consider appealing it. It will be really unfair that a player like him has to get out of the semifinal if it is not his fault.

In this season, we have had a lot of circumstances and a lot of things happening like this. But against a top team like ATK, the guys have gotten a result and it was really difficult to get one because they were very fresh. If you think about it, we have been playing double the number of games in February than them. We wanted to play in Asia of course, and we managed to play four games, but at the same time in the last game we the heartbreak of losing in penalties after making a comeback twice in the game. Losing on penalties, can affect the mental situation of the team but you saw that they are giving everything for the club. I must say that I feel they are giving everything for me because they are the reason I am a coach here in Bengaluru. I feel like they do whatever I am asking them to do on the pitch and it was nice that Sunil came to celebrate the goal with me because it shows that he is really happy with the things that we are doing in the locker room.

On if ATK had the better game as Habas suggested…

Football is a game of circumstances on the pitch. We arrived to the game in one circumstance and they arrived in a very different one. We have a lot of respect for other teams, other professionals and we have nothing to say about that. I think these guys have shown again how they can work on the pitch, getting another clean sheet and just taking advantage of the situations, counter-attacks, set pieces and if you see they have not been creating a lot of chances.

They did get a lot of freekicks around the box but in open play, they didn’t have a lot of chances. You know I come from Barcelona and we can talk about football, a lot about anything in the game; but when you really know the game, you have to manage some situations and I think that the game plan for us and the circumstances that we are having in that moment, it was working.

On going down to ten men in the final minutes of the game…

It was difficult for us as they pushed us for the goal and suddenly we get a player less, so we have to play the final minutes with ten men. Even Albert was out of the game, so yeah a lot of things have been happening this season. The guys keep doing the work, fighting in the situation and you can see that ATK didn’t create any chances. We created chances to make it 2-0 with Dimas’ shot with the throw-in, with Frater’s shot that went just over, so it is football and we were just doing our job. We got a good result here, but of course nothing is done and there is still 90 minutes to play in Kolkata and it is going to be a really hard one to get a result but we will try to get the players refreshed, and we will try to reach the final.

On a one-week break ahead of the second leg…

Now we have to focus on ‘invisible training’, as we say. The players need a good rest, good nutrition, and need to calm down about the stress that they have been having to play a final after final every three days. So, yeah it is going to be good for us to have these days with a little less intensity. This helps us prepare for the game in the right circumstances to get a good result in Kolkata.

On another of Suresh’s impressive performance…

He is giving us a lot, but you have to see that he is being able to participate and participate well in high-pressure games such as these. He is looking good in the training sessions and I asked him yesterday, if he felt he is ready to start the game. Because you have to understand, that he was playing 120 minutes in the last game in the AFC Cup. But he told me that he is ready to help us and he has been helping us a lot. He has been doing a wonderful job in defence and also creating chances in the attack. He is having an impressive season and I am sure that he will soon have an opportunity in the national team because he is really working for that moment.

On taking a one-goal advantage to Kolkata…

Of course, we’re not overconfident going to Kolkata with a 1-0 result, because we know the kind of battle that awaits us there. But as I said, my guys are competitive and they work a lot and we will try to make a game plan for the second leg. I am sure they are going to try their best to get the result. It will be difficult, but it’s a scenario where we are fighting for something again. There are a lot of teams that are out of the competition, or the teams are in the first leg and things are not going for them. It happened last season as well with Mumbai, they conceded a lot of goals. It is football and these things can happen but at least we know that we arrive to the second 90 minutes with a result to fight and try to be in the final and this is the spirit that we have.