It has been over a month since Bengaluru FC last tasted defeat in all competitions. Having already secured a spot in the Indian Super League (ISL) playoffs, the Blues will hope to keep their impetus intact in the final stretch of the regular season.
"When we had won two consecutive games I asked the team if we could make it three for the first time this season. We did and then went on to get wins four and five. While qualification may not be a motivation anymore, to keep the winning run going definitely is. It's important to keep winning because we want to keep the momentum and be consistent. We're in a good position, but we want to continue moving up," head coach Albert Roca sounded on the eve of their home game against FC Pune City, second on the table.
He added, " There are three (playoff) spots left and I think five teams have a chance to make it. Pune will want to kill the mathematics and combinations to qualifying and we have to be ready for that. They are on a good run themselves, winning four out of their last five games. We are in for a big test. Pune are a tough team to play and we know that we have to be at our best if we are to take anything away from this game."
"Pune had a player sent off close to the hour mark in that game after we which we gained a stronghold on things. It was a tough game for most parts and I don’t expect anything different tomorrow," he commented on the earlier fixture, which they won 1-3 at the Balewadi Stadium.
The Blues would have only two days of turnaround time after their draining AFC Cup 2018 playoff fixture against TC Sports Club in the Maldives. " We arrived from what was a difficult game in trying condition in the Maldives, on Wednesday. I’m happy we got the result we went for along with being able to give some of the boys rest back in Bangalore. There will be changes for sure. It’s the only way I can extract the best out of my squad"
"We have to realize that it's not easy for some players to take the place of the foreigners, but they're doing their best and that's all I can ask of them. I' m happy to see that the squad has depth with players who want to prove themselves when they get the chance," expressed the former FC Barcelona assistant manager.
Top scorer Miku did not play in their last ISL game at home to FC Goa and when asked about the Venezuelan's fitness, Roca replied, " Miku has played most of our games and we took this opportunity to give him a bit of a break. He's fit once again, but it's important to think about the future and give others a chance."
Playing their penultimate league home game on Friday, the Spaniard talked about some tweaks in his gameplan for the last few games, given progression to the next stage is secured.
"Everybody's expecting a good game tomorrow. I want us to work hard and be ready for the playoffs. Tomorrow is the first test of only three games we have left in the league stages. Staying on top of the table might not get us the cup, and I respect the rules of the league. But it's a way of showing our fans that we are the most consistent team and it's definitely a matter of pride"
"It's not only about the cup. It's about making people happy and we need to remind ourselves that this is football," he concluded.