Bengaluru Keen To Begin Second Half Of The ISL Campaign With Much-Needed Win
Bengaluru FC’s quest for a turnaround in fortunes will see Naushad Moosa’s team make the trip to Tilak Maidan where they take on an equally-desperate NorthEast United side, in the Indian Super League, on Tuesday. The Blues, who currently sit in sixth position on the table, have lost four games on the spin for the first time in their history. Gerard Nus’ Highlanders, meanwhile, have gone six games without a win, making it a fixture with much at stake for both teams.
Given the Blues’ current struggles with form, interim Head Coach Naushad Moosa acknowledged that this is a difficult period in the club’s history and that everyone was doing their best to get the season back on track. “It has been a difficult time for everyone, for the players and for everyone involved with the club. We need to overcome this form and we are working on it. We have two games in a short period and it will take time, but we can’t sit back and relax either. The players are motivated and you saw the way we played in the second half against East Bengal. I am expecting them to do better against NorthEast United.”
Like the Blues, the Highlanders have also found it hard to find a win in the last few games. They are currently without a win in six matches, a run that started with the 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture earlier this campaign. And Moosa is expecting a tough game on Tuesday. “NorthEast are not a bad team at all. It was a 2-2 draw when we played each other earlier this season. They always fight back in their games. We can never relax and in this League a team’s position on the table doesn’t mean much come match day. The players know their roles and responsibilities. We have ten games in hand and we will try to claw back, starting with the game against NorthEast.”
Speaking about the team’s morale, Moosa said that the players are buying into his ideas and he is confident of things getting better going forward. “Before the game against East Bengal, my message to the players was to not worry about the result but to give their 100% on the pitch. Of course, winning is important but the last match for me was all about the players having faith in playing the way I want them to. And that will help us going into the next game. In the first half, East Bengal dominated us but the players did what was asked of them in the second half which helped us get back in the game. With NorthEast again, we will play attacking football and try to get the three points.”
The interim Head Coach is also sure of his forwards finding their scoring boots again. “We created a lot of opportunities against East Bengal. While we couldn’t convert them into goals, we have been working on that in training, trying to get our shots on target and being more compact when without the ball. We will get there eventually.”
Moosa’s first game in charge saw two youngsters making their first starts of the season, with two more introduced from the bench. And the coach added that the youngsters will get more opportunities as the season progresses. “We would like to bring in more youngsters, that’s the plan. The way Parag [Shrivas] played till he got injured was a good indication of the quality the kids have. We will try to give them more time, maybe 30 or 40 minutes. That’s the plan.”
Harmanjot Khabra is available again after serving a one game suspension and there are no new injuries in the team.
Kick off between the Blues and NorthEast United FC is scheduled for 7.30 pm on Tuesday, and will be telecast live on the STAR Sports Network, Hotstar and Jio TV.