ISL 2023-24: Grayson expresses disappointment as Bengaluru FC suffers defeat to Mohun Bagan Super Giant
In their ISL 2023-24 clash, Mohun Bagan Super Giant beat Bengaluru FC by a slender margin of 1-0 in a gruelling contest at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Bengaluru FC's head coach, Simon Grayson, expressed his disappointment following their narrow 1-0 defeat to Mohun Bagan Super Giant in matchweek 2 of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Wednesday. In a closely contested match, a second-half goal by Hugo Boumous secured the three points for the Mariners. Bengaluru FC faced further setbacks with two of their players, Suresh Singh Wangjam and Roshan Singh, receiving red cards during the game.
Grayson, speaking at the post-match press conference, highlighted his team's strong start and early control of the match. They had several promising opportunities in the first 15 to 20 minutes and managed to limit Mohun Bagan Super Giant's chances. He also praised his goalkeeper, Gurpreet, for not having to make significant saves in the first half. However, Grayson lamented a miscommunication among his players in the second half that led to the unfortunate goal that ultimately cost them the match. Despite this setback, he believed that Bengaluru FC did not appear vulnerable to conceding too many goals before that moment.
"I think when we look back at the first half, we were strong in both departments. We began the game really well in the first 15 to 20 minutes, had three or four decent opportunities, and limited Mohun Bagan Super Giant to only a few chances. As the first half progressed, our performance remained solid, and I don't believe Gurpreet had to make any significant saves,” said the Englishman.
“The second half was quite similar. The goal that we conceded was a goal that we should have dealt with better. It was a lack of communication between the goalkeeper and centre back but until then we didn't look to be in a position where we would concede too many goals," Grayson added.
"We just needed to be better in both boxes and make sure that when we get the opportunity, we try and take them," he continued.
One significant challenge for Bengaluru FC was the absence of experienced players in the attacking department. Curtis Main and Javi Hernandez had limited preseason preparation, while Sunil Chhetri, Rohit Danu, and Halicharan Narzary were unavailable due to various reasons. Grayson acknowledged the limitations in their attacking options but commended his team for their hard work and for posing challenges to a strong opponent like Mohun Bagan Super Giant.
"When I look at the options we had available, those were the first 70 minutes that Curtis Main has played. He has missed a lot of preseason, and Javi Hernandez has also missed a significant portion of preseason. They were two of our attacking options. Also, Sunil (Chhetri) and Rohit Danu were away, and Halicharan (Narzary) is injured, so we don't have many experienced options," stated Grayson.
"There are two parts to the game, and if we could have taken one of our chances, we could have won the game. We worked really hard, asked questions, and limited a very attack-minded team to very few opportunities,” he added.
Looking ahead, Bengaluru FC will return to their home ground to face East Bengal FC on October 4. Grayson's objective is to build on the positives from the first two games, minimize mistakes, and aim for victory in the upcoming match. "To try and win the next game. Our approach (was the same) in both the games (we played). Two very difficult games Kerala Blasters was the first and here tonight. We are back at the Kanteerava next week and so we want to play on the front foot, we want to play positive football, defend well as a team and cut out our mistakes," he concluded.