Albert Roca said his Bengaluru FC side would not be using positions on the points table as an indicator of the fight they will face from Delhi Dynamos when the Blues play their first ever game in the capital, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, on Sunday. “Everyone is looking at it as a game between the team at the top of the table against one at the bottom, but not us. The points table tells of your performances till the end of your last game, it does not help predicting the result of your next,” said Roca.
It was woeful form away from home that hit Bengaluru FC hard last season and Roca is pleased with the kind of turnaround the team has staged while on the road this season. Spare the narrow 4-3 defeat to Goa, the Blues have beaten NorthEast United FC, FC Pune City and Kerala Blasters away from home and the Spaniard hopes they leave Delhi with a similar result.
“It’s very encouraging to see the way the team has performed away and it’s important that we keep the intensity consistent. I have a lot of respect for Delhi Dynamos and their coach Miguel Portugal. Sure, things haven’t gone their way so far in the tournament but he (Portugal) isn’t compromising on his philosophy and it could be just a game away from bearing fruit. This is the reason why we have to be careful on Sunday.”
The hosts come into this fixture on the back of a 1-3 defeat to Kerala Blasters at home and with four points from nine games, are languishing at the bottom of the pile. Portugal’s situation has been compounded by injuries and a suspension. Spanish ‘keeper Xabi Irureta, who was brought in as a replacement to the injured Albino Gomes, picked up an injury himself in the game against Kerala Blasters and is a doubtful starter. Meanwhile midfielder Matias Mirabaje is still serving his four-game suspension for a bust-up with Mumbai City FC’s Sehnaj Singh when the two sides met in Mumbai a fortnight ago.
Roca, meanwhile, has a complete squad to choose from. However, with the Blues set to play five games in the next 17 days including a trip to Bhutan in the AFC Cup, it remains to be seen if the Spaniard will rotate the squad.
Bengaluru FC come into this game on the back of a 1-0 win over ATK, one from which there were plenty of positives to take. The Blues’ defence was solid at the Sree Kanteerava and Roca mentioned that his side were working hard on a lot of key areas at the back that saw them concede late against Chennaiyin FC, Jamshedpur FC and Kerala Blasters. “There are areas that we still need to work on. Our transitional play from defence to attack needs to keep improving and what I see in training is very encouraging,” said Roca.
The game kicks off at 5.30pm and will be telecast across the Star Network, Hotstar and JioTV.