Interim Head Coach Naushad Moosa’s first game in charge will see Bengaluru FC host SC East Bengal, at the Fatorda Stadium, in Goa, on Saturday. At the time of writing this, Bengaluru are fifth on the League table, one point outside the playoff spots, while East Bengal are ninth and on a four-game unbeaten run.
The Blues come into this game on the back of three consecutive defeats, a first in the club’s history, and Moosa says the team is determined to arrest the slide when they take the field. “It is not an easy situation for anyone at the club, but we are professionals at the end of the day. The players understand the situation and know that we have an important game tomorrow. They want to bounce back and win games again.”
Moosa has taken charge following the club’s parting of ways with Carles Cuadrat, and he says he is happy with the team’s response in training. “I saw a lot of positivity on the pitch yesterday. The players are willing to work for me, that’s the most important thing for a coach. I assure you that you will see a positive, more aggressive team against East Bengal.”
The Blues’ opponents for tomorrow come into the game with momentum on their side, with the side undefeated in four games and their players beginning to work in tandem. Moosa knows the task at hand and is confident that the Blues will give their all. “East Bengal are a very decent side and you can see that they are getting better with each game. I was watching Bright [Enobakhare], who is a very talented player. However, we want to focus on ourselves. I can assure you that we will play more entertaining, attacking football. We also have to be careful since we have been conceding a lot. We will have to be more compact when we lose the ball and we have been working on it. Our main focus will be not to concede early goals.”
While there are no new injuries to the side, Harmanjot Khabra is set to miss the game after picking up his fourth yellow card of the campaign, and Moosa says he has already made plans on who will replace the veteran. “Since Khabra is suspended, we need to get a replacement and we will have a youngster playing in his position tomorrow. One of my roles in the team is to give opportunities to younger players and that is what I will try to do.”
Speaking about playing youngsters, the coach added, “For Saturday’s game, we will have two or three youngsters who will play. But we don’t want to ring in too many changes as a knee-jerk reaction. In the near future, maybe after some more time once we get to know the way we want to play, we will try to bring in more youngsters. That’s what we want to do.”
Kick off between the Blues and SC East Bengal is scheduled for 7.30 pm on Saturday, and will be telecast live on the STAR Sports Network, Hotstar and Jio TV.