'Friendly win a confidence booster'

'Friendly win a confidence booster'

Players upbeat about AFC game, says BFC skipper Chhetri

'Friendly win a confidence booster'

 Coming on the back of a comprehensive 4-1 win with the national team against Puerto Rico in a friendly, Bengaluru FC skipper Sunil Chhetri now has his eyes set on the upcoming AFC game, where his side faces Tampine Rovers.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Youth Football Cup, the 32-year-old, who was vital to India’s win last Staurday, believes the BFC players involved in that game will be buyoed by the result. “I can see that the players have evolved since. Coming back to win it after being a goal down has helped the confidence of players like Daniel (Lalhlimpuia), Rino (Anto) and Eugeneson (Lyngdoh).

“I hope we can take this confidence into the game against Tampines Rovers. The coach is different, so the system will be slightly different, but as long as we can understand what he wants us to do, we’ll do well,” he added.

The Bengaluru side has been training under Albert Roca for over a month now and the Rovers game will be the first time the Spaniard oversees a competitve game, and with it being in front of the home fans, expectations will be sky-high.

“Now wherever we play, expectations will be there. We are two-time champions and have also won the Federation Cup. So there won’t be lack of expectations from fans and from ourselves when we play Rovers. They will expect good things from us. Our work is to give our best. What happens in a game you can’t predict now but you need to give it everything. That’s all we want.”

It was but natural that the players would find it a little hard to fit into a new system after playing three years under former manager Ashley Westwood, but Chhetri opined that the players were up for the challenge.

“It isn’t easy to immediately change to different tactics but we will adjust with time. Roca is different in terms of fitness and assessment. We are trying hard to adapt and I’m positive that it will be possible if we work hard.” Roca has brought in reinforcements in midfield while entrusting offensive duties to the Indian bunch, a move that Chhetri feels will reap rewards considering the talent pool in the squad.

“Indian strikers have always performed when we have needed them. The likes of Daniel and Vinneth are great talents and will only complement the likes of Alvaro (Rubio) and Cameron (Watson) in midfield.”

Mumbai City FC have retained the services of the striker for the ISL and he is now faced with the mouth-watering proposition of playing alongside Uruguayan legend Diego Forlan. And while admitting to being a Forlan fan, BFC’s top scorer said he remained focussed on the task ahead.

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