Bengaluru FC wary of Hyderabad threat

Bengaluru FC wary of Hyderabad threat

While that is certainly at the back of their mind, head coach Carles Cuadrat insisted there was no pressure on him or the team to finish atop the table but the target is to defend the title.

Bengaluru FC continue their quest to become the first team to defend the Indian Super League title when they take on a beaten and bruised Hyderbad FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Thursday.

The defending champions, currently third in the table two points behind ATK and FC Goa, can ill afford another slip-up. Especially considering the league leaders earn the right to be the first team from the country to play in the AFC Champions League next season.

While that is certainly at the back of their mind, head coach Carles Cuadrat insisted there was no pressure on him or the team to finish atop the table but the target is to defend the title.

"I don't feel the pressure. From the first day, our target was to be in the playoffs because we know all champions had problems the next season because they were not consistent. But we have the desire to be the first team to win the competition twice in a row," he said ahead of the game.

"We have to get maximum points to fight for the playoffs first and then the Champions League because it's not in our hands. If Goa and ATK get all points they are ahead of us," he added.

However, having drawn against Hyderabad in the first leg, BFC will be wary of the threat possessed by the visitors, however facile it might be.

"We lost two points in Hyderabad and they were bottom of the table then. We have been seeing throughout how competitive the league is, and we are expecting a tough game and we will go for the three points," the Spanish tactician assured.

The visiting side, who sacked coach Phil Brown earlier this month, has conceded an astonishing 32 goals this season while winning just one game. As such, with new boy Nili Perdomo in the reckoning and Deshorn Brown, all of two games old at the club, this could be a perfect opportunity for the side to find their mojo once again as an attacking unit from open play.

The defending champions have been heavily reliant on set plays, with 12 of their 18 goals coming directly or by keeping the attack alive by winning the second ball from a dead-ball situation.

The team will miss the services of Rahul Bheke adding some worries on the defensive front but the assured performance from Suresh Wangjam in the previous game could give the coach options to tinker with the line-up. Erik Paartalu, who has been in the form of his life coming up big for the club at both ends of the field, will be another one to watch out for alongside the evergreen Sunil Chhetri and a resurgent Udanta Singh.