Albert Roca has done a fantastic job at Bengaluru, the way his side transitioned seamlessly from the I-League to the ISL was superb and if the league was just that, a league, then Bengaluru would’ve won the title at a canter. However, the ISL doesn’t work like that and it’s one of the many things that make it so thrilling to watch.
How Do You Like Them Grapes, Gurpreet? Sour
Bengaluru’s keeper, Gurpreet, commented after the game that they won the league and that was that. Sour grapes much? If you had moved for either of Mailson’s headers, your team might have had a chance, but never mind, let’s focus on Roca. The Spaniard began by saying this:
“It was a very good season. The last step, it was not our day. We have not had enough strength to come back into the game when it was possible. It is difficult when you are under pressure.
“Everybody knows we finished first, eight points above Chennaiyin FC. We are human beings, the players did an incredible job. I am sad for them and the fans. But that’s football,”
Right you did, Roca, but you bottled it when mattered most. Roca wasn’t bitter like Gurpreet, though and paid credit to a Chennai side that never looked in trouble after Augusto made it 3-1 in the second half.
“Congratulations to Chennaiyin! I am sad as we would have liked to get the trophy for our fans that they deserved. We never give up. It’s a shame that the way we have played the season was really good. In the last moment these kinds of things can happen. It was not our game and two goals that we conceded through set-pieces we don’t always concede that way.”
‘It Was A Big Disaster’
He’s got a point. Bengaluru hadn’t conceded from a corner at any point during the ISL, yet in the final, Mailson scored twice in under half an hour with towering headers. Subhasish Bose missed the final through suspension and you have to feel that if he was on the pitch, things might’ve been slightly different. Such is the way of life. Roca also touched on the fact that Dimas’ injury meant they were a man down when Mailson got his second;
“They were right in the two actions that we knew we had prepared. Set-pieces were always a strong point in our game. One of our best players were injured, we defended with one player less. It was a big disaster for us to concede that goals, knowing how Chennaiyin will defend,”
Aye, that’s bang on Albert. You had a full complement of players on the pitch for his first though. The comment “knowing how Chennaiyin will defend” couldn’t be more accurate as the pairing of Sereno and Mailson were immense as were the other nine on the pitch in white. Roca was questioned surrounding the performance of the officials after Udanta had a goal disallowed for offside:
“Nothing about the referee, they did their game. I have to see the replay to know if there was something wrong. After 50 minutes, I had to risk the changes. I can put the blame on me. It is my responsibility. Sometimes I am wrong, sometimes I am right. Football is like this. Sometimes it is not the players who make mistakes, it is the coach. Perhaps, I did a mistake,”
Fair play to him for taking it on the chin like that. Many managers could learn from him, cough, Mourinho, cough as he recognised he got it wrong and he is right football is like this and that’s one of the many reasons why we love the sport so dearly because it can be so unpredictable. Coming away from his own performance, Roca paid tribute to Sunil Chhetri in kind of a weird way:
“Everybody is proud of him (Chhetri). He is an outstanding player. He is a human being, he has feelings.
“He is one who wanted to win more than any other player. He fought until the end. He is a fantastic player and I am sure he will recover from this hard moment.”
I’ll be honest, I really don’t get the wanted to win more than any other player part as what does that say about the rest of his team? After all, it wasn’t just Chhetri who dropped to the floor when the referee blew the final whistle, it was the majority of the squad. Strange thing to say. He finished by going into proper ‘manager-mode’…
“We now have to be focused in the two tournaments that we have. Tomorrow (Sunday), we wake up with a completely different idea, we are professionals.”
Bengaluru Taking The Super Cup Seriously
Interesting that he spoke about the Super Cup like that, which is a complete contrast to what Gregory said. You could put that down there being a more jovial atmosphere in Gregory’s conference or maybe Roca is going to field a strong side. They make their Super Cup bow against Gokulam on April Fool’s Day after the Kerala based outfit saw off NorthEast in the qualifiers.
We’ll have everything you need and more regarding all things Super Cup in the run-up to the ‘proper’ tournament beginning, up until then, you enjoy yourself, get a new hat or something. Everyone loves a new hat, don’t they?
Until the next time.