The international break has seemingly changed things drastically for few sides in the Indian Super League with the severest blow evidently taken by Bengaluru FC. However, as far as their manager Carles Cuadrat is concerned, the Spaniard seems to have hit a mental block of sorts at this junction.
Where they were expected to all but seal their qualification in the playoffs with the most number of matches still remaining to be played, Cuadrat has seen his players losing away to Islanders, winning narrowly against the Highlanders, and pulling back a draw against the struggling Blasters. However, while a temporary mellow-down is a common phenomenon for any team in any league around the league, Cuadrat, quite interestingly, chose to play the “physicality” card in press conferences on both the winless occasions.
While, after the loss to Mumbai, he had stated that Mumbai
After the 1-0 loss to Mumbai, Cuadrat had even said that “players are not so powerful physically” in a press conference before immediately minimizing the damage by saying that “But they gave everything”. More than anything else, this was bound to have a lasting negative impact in the dressing room, and if not necessarily the results, their performances have surely reflected the down in morale.
The concern, more importantly, here is that with ISL still finding its place among Asia’s top leagues, it has always been that physical
Cuadrat, being the assistant coach to Albert Roca last season, knew what he was getting into even before he took the job and him citing physicality as a reason for bad results is definitely worrisome for Bengaluru fans for it points one of two possibilities – either the Spaniard is out of his depth, or he is not being entirely truthful. And the fans would be begging that it is the second possibility for the first scenario would indicate that the beautiful project i.e. Bengaluru FC needs to undergo massive changes and immediately.
The second option is quite probable here too, for Cuadrat cannot come out publicly and criticize fan
However, if Cuadrat has arrived at a psychological impasse with four matches to go, then the Blues are in trouble. Teams have been seen a more defensive and physical foul-filled approach against Bengaluru off late leaving much at the mercy of ISL’s terrible poor refereeing, and while it wasn’t supposed to affect a quintessentially clinical counter-attacking side, who has largely been best at it regardless of opponents’ playing style, even in the first half of this season, it has surprisingly halted the Blues, and Cuadrat’s team tweak against Kerala proved that it is more of a mental thing.
Football would always be counted among the top few recognized sports when one sits down to enlist the top contact sports in the world, but it has also proved time and again that the most supreme of athletes haven’t always ruled the field. For a player to thrive in the long run, of course, good height and weight were viewed as essential attributes thereby making tall players taller and strong players stronger over the years; but it has never guaranteed greatness.
Whether it was Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona or Johan Cryuff’s Netherland side of the 1970s, the right technique and the proper players to execute it have mesmerizingly triumphed the size of their opponents time and again. Football has always been widely loved for its mental complexities which are of two kinds – strategic and humane.
The first one is a fairly easier and well-documented barrier to break where elements like formations, possession, movements come into consideration with the coach’s function mainly being in outsmarting his counterpart with X’s and O’s. This is the easier part if football was only strategies needed to be executed to perfection, for it would then be limited to androids with no emotions involved. It is the other part, the humane one, which makes football magical.
This part constitutes one’s individual and the team’s collective mental strength, one’s emotional control under pressure situations, one’s adaptability and creativity in telling conditions, one’s ability to get the job done under high expectations or no expectations at all. This mental aspect requires a player to fend off-the-field distractions, to perform even when one is hated by fans or teammates, to succeed after failing on the previous three times.
Fortunately, this less acknowledged mental aspect of football is already present in Bengaluru FC players, as evident from some of their gritty displays on the road that includes the likes against ATK and FC Goa. However, unless Cuadrat regains it for himself, the Blues are looking at yet another fruitless season.
Despite Bengaluru having a tailor-made squad that could counter-attack with utmost perfection, Cuadrat could always choose to be proactive rather than reactive. And the Sabadell-born Cuadrat wouldn’t need to look farther for inspiration in this case. 18
Cricket FootBall Kabaddi
Cricket FootBall Kabaddi