Carles Cuadrat was a happy man after guiding Bengaluru FC to their maiden Indian Super League (ISL) title in his first season as the club's head coach. But moments before Rahul Bheke's goal in the extra-time, the Spaniard revealed he was dreading the prospect of penalties.
"It was very exciting until the last moments. We were trying to avoid penalties because it is like a lottery a lot of times, I am happy that we were able to score before the start of the penalties," said Cuadrat at the post-match press conference here on Sunday.
Cuadrat said Albert Serran was benched for final because the plan was to attack Goa. He also had special praise for Nishu Kumar, Bheke and Harmanjot Khabra, highlighting their defensive work that kept opponents at bay during the season.
"It was a risky decision to play with that defence because Albert has been an important player for us. We wanted to play an offensive game and that's why we started with Xisco (Hernandez). But I am very happy with the performance of the three Indian players (Nishu, Rahul and Khabra). They have been learning a lot," he said.
What's stood out for BFC this season is that the strikers are tracking back to help the defenders in crunch situation. BFC skipper Sunil Chhetri said this tactic worked wonders against big teams.
"We made sure that whenever the attack was finished we came and defended and you have to do this against a team like Goa. They have players who can change the game at any second. I think it was paramount for us and that was the coach's message," said a delighted Chhetri.
Meanwhile, FC Goa coach Sergio Lobero, though disappointed with the loss, praised his players for the work they've put in. "It was a very tight final. It was hard to lose the game this way. We performed the way we wanted to. I believe we played well. I am proud of my players. I am a very demanding coach. I wouldn't have changed anything," said Lobera.