October 23, 2021

‘We didn’t get the players we wanted’ – Naushad Moosa bemoans Bengaluru’s January transfer window

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The Bengaluru interim coach believes they are just one win from turning their dismal run in the ISL this season…

Naushad Moosa feels that Bengaluru FC are just a win away from turning their season around and fighting for a play-off spot in the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL).

The Blues, who have not failed to make the play-offs since joining the ISL, are on an eight-game winless streak ahead of their tie against East Bengal on Tuesday.

They threw away a two-goal lead and were held by Hyderabad FC in their last outing.

“It was not easy after losing the three points but the players know what the job is. We have six matches ahead. Being professionals, we are all positive. We will be missing Erik (Paartalu), Juanan (due to injuries) but we are positive with the Indian players who want to go out there and prove themselves,” said Interim coach Moosa.

With 15 points from 14 games, and currently five points from the fourth-placed team on the table, the 49-year-old stated that a win is enough to lead them out from the mid-table cluster.

“This (mid-table cluster) is what is keeping us more positive. If you see the points table, it’s not much of a difference. Just one win and you’re there. That really motivates us and what is pushing us to get a positive result. One three points and we are there to work hard and be there in the play-offs,” he said.

Meamwhile, Moosa has taken note of East Bengal’s recent run of form as the Red and Golds have lost just once in nine games (W2, D6). He feels they are improving as each game goes by. 

“If you see the way they have improved, they have been doing really well. They have been creating chances but not scoring. But it doesn’t make us feel relaxed because we have to work on our own strategy and see that we play positive football. The way they are playing, the way Bright (Enobakhare) moves from the left wing with [Jacques] Maghoma, it will not be easy for sure. If you see the last game, in the second half, they were totally dominating the game against Goa (1-1 draw),” he observed.

Moosa has good knowledge of Bengaluru’s youngsters from the time he spent as B team coach. With players like Leon Augustine and Parag Shrivas getting game time under him, he feels that the youngsters will get much-needed confidence this season and will be ready to make the step up next season. 

“Leon (Augustine) will be starting tomorrow. Parag (Shrivas) has been given a fair chance and he’s doing really well. But that’s what it’s all about – giving them experience. For sure, this help build their confidence and prepare them for the next season,” he shared.

“They (youngsters) still need to understand the seriousness of ISL. It’s not the same because there’s not much scope for silly mistakes in the ISL because it costs you. So these are small details that have helped me being an interim coach that will help me to work with the reserve team squad and prepare them for the senior team.”

Bengaluru’s Deshorn Brown has clicked on loan with NorthEast United while Ajay Chhetri has been getting ample gametime at East Bengal. However, Bengaluru have not been able to secure any new signings in January apart from Xisco Hernandez.

“It didn’t go really well. We were trying for players from Goa, ATK [Mohun Bagan] and Mumbai [City] but things didn’t work out in favour. So we just got one new player, Xisco. The rest are all the same. We sent Deshorn Brown to NorthEast and Ajay Chhetri to East Bengal but the players that we were trying for, we didn’t get, because we were looking for players who would fit in the first 11,” Moosa lamented.