The youngsters gave a fantastic performance at the Fortress: Cuadrat

The Boss Discusses An Entertaining Game, Performance From The Youngsters And More…

On dropping points in the last five minutes…

It was a very clear mistake of concentration. They are youngsters, Suresh should try to avoid passing the ball very fast and Leon should try to run with the player. But what more can I ask from them? They gave me everything. They are players with only a little experience at this level and they are giving their best and they have been doing a wonderful job. It has been an amazing game for the youngsters. They had the opportunity to play in the ISL and I think that they really made an impact. I have to say they had an understanding of the concepts that we were managing during the game, they got a 2-0 lead and for me, it was a kind of a surprise!

We knew that during the game, we will have to make some substitutions because they (young players) are not used to this level of competition. But it is normal. We had to get Kima out because he had cramps, and we had to readjust the defence a little bit. But they were doing a good job and sometimes when you make a little change, it does affect things. But I am very happy, and we have to say that we in Bengaluru are not just working with the first team but we are doing a lot of things with the kids and trying to develop them as top players. You can see on the pitch how Leon had an impact, how Parag also had an impact, so I am very happy for them.

On if this one point carried more importance than others through the season…

We had this experience last season when we went to Jamshedpur and they scored five against us. So, for me as a coach, I know the risk the youngsters have when I put so many players who are going to have their first opportunity in a Starting XI. I think they understand what they have to do and they worked for the point and I am ok with that point. If you see, they were playing against players like Williams, Krishna, Edu Garcia and John Johnson. They are top professionals with a lot of experience, so I am impressed that they (our youngsters) did very well. It is normal that Albert, Dimas, and Erik were out there to keep the balance, but we also had to be sure that they don’t get a stupid yellow card which puts them out of the semifinal. So they did the job we were planning, but my surprise is with the youngsters given the kind of performance that they put out at the Fortress.

On giving more chances to the youngsters…

Football is a complicated business; it is not so easy to make decisions. What I mean is that we became champions last season because of the work that Sunil and Udanta put in defence. This is one of the primary reasons we became champions last season. Of course, there are other things like the set-pieces, Rahul Bheke’s goal and everything else, but the help they were giving to us in defence was essential. You see Leon, he is a fresh player, he gives something and he already has two assists. But he still has to learn about how to take better decisions for the team when he is in a certain zone, about how to defend in one-on-one situations and really get his zone under control. These things you can learn only playing in top competitions and believe me, in that aspect Sunil and Udanta are very good. They know the game and Ashique is learning as well. He might not be getting so much involved with assists but in defence, he is giving us a lot; so, I am very happy. It is a process and Leon has the potential, but he has to keep progressing.

On dropping points in the final minutes for the fourth time this season…

Do you think I am worried today? Come on, would you have told me before the game that these guys are going to put in this kind of performance! This is football and it is very difficult for youngsters who have been playing in local leagues where they’ve been dominating games to play an ISL game. Given the opponents and the scenario, they did a fantastic job.

On Dimas taking added responsibility with so many youngsters on the pitch…

It was a message that we gave to the players that Dimas is always going to support them in all situations. He has been driving the team, game after game. For a young player, it was a solution to give the ball to Dimas, because he always made that option available. I think he lost just one ball in the first half of the game. The rest of the game he was the one who controlled most of the proceedings. Even with the goal he scored, we know his quality. It was a great goal and a wonderful set-piece.