Carles Cuadrat: I'd be worried if I were Igor Stimac

Talking about the lack of Indian goal-scorers in the ISL 2019-20, Bengaluru coach Carles Cuadrat said they had the quality but haven't shown the results.

Carles Cuadrat

Carles Cuadrat: “If I am in the place of Stimac, I will be worried. Udanta [has] only one goal and zero assists; Ashique only one assist, zero goals…its scary.”   -  ISL MEDIA

At the start of the season, when Bengaluru FC added the exciting Ashique Kuruniyan to its roster, a potential all-Indian attacking trident involving the 22-year-old, Sunil Chhetri and Udanta Singh had raised expectations. It was something fans believed could be replicated successfully at the national-level too under Igor Stimac and solve India’s over-dependence on Chhetri.

However, on the back of a disappointing few months for Ashique and Udanta, Bengaluru coach Carles Cuadrat said he would be worried if he were Stimac. “I gave them a lot of opportunities, but the results are not there,” the Catalan said on Friday. “If I am in the place of Stimac, I will be worried. Udanta [has] only one goal and zero assists; Ashique only one assist, zero goals…its scary.”

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He continued, “We are still depending on Sunil. A lot of commentators are saying 'you have to find replacement for Sunil'. Yes, you have to. But it is not arriving. You have to understand that all teams are professional and all teams have foreign managers who are here to make an impact and they bring players from England, Holland, Spain etc.”

Cuadrat pointed to his team’s lacklustre form in front of goal to prove his point. Bengaluru has scored 20 goals this season; only ninth-placed NorthEast United has netted fewer (14) in the 10-team ISL.

“Every week we practise finishing drills about 100 times. We use videos, discuss what we have to do, like ‘go for that side of the target’ etc. But if it is still not happening, it's because top-level is like this. You have to be very strong with your mind, focussed to give your best under difficult conditions. Unfortunately it is not happening,” the Spaniard said.

But Cuadrat added it was not something exclusive to Bengaluru. In fact, with nine goals, Chhetri is the lone Indian in the list of top-15 goal-scorers. “Farukh Choudhary started well but is not in the same form now. We have [C. K] Vineeth, Robin Singh, Jeje [Lalpekhlua], Balwant [Singh]... they all have quality. But if you see the numbers, they are not there yet. So it is something we have to be worried about.”

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Asked if teams going forward will shy away from deploying an India-led attack, Cuadrat hinted that it was already happening. “Most of the teams are trying to get a spine made of foreigners -- from defenders to midfielders to No.9. "

He added, "[Ferran] Corominas is scoring a lot of goals and this is what is taking the teams to the top position. We [Bengaluru] are still reaching the top position without a striker who can get 10 goals."

Cuadrat continued, "We had Miku with that kind of numbers but he is not with us. It wasn't my decision [to allow him to leave]. It was the club's decision. I have to follow that because that is the way it works. But if you see the numbers season after season, we need a foreigner No.9 who can score goals. Otherwise you will be in trouble.”

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