Connect with us

Bengaluru FC

How Bengaluru FC succeeded this season and what are their plans for the future?

When Bengaluru FC was formulated back in 2013, a promise was made. A promise which every newly formed team needs to make to the All-India Football Federation. To be added straight into the top-division of Indian football, the JSW (Jindal Steel Works) owned Bengaluru FC promised to not be relegated for three seasons from the league. Job, well done.

Bengaluru FC, in it’s debut season, has done what no one before them was capable of achieving, they won the I-League at the first time of asking, in their debut season, in their first few months as a unit.

OutsideoftheBoot.com was invited by the club, to the first press conference that the club held after claiming their maiden I-League title, with head coach Ashley Westwood, captain Sunil Chhetri, CEO Parth Jindal, COO Mustapha Ghouse, Team Manager Mandar Tamhane and assistant coach, Pradhyum Reddy in attendance. We got a little more insight into how this achievement was made and what plans the club has for the future.

Ashley WestwoodAs this website is obsessed with tactics, we were quick to find out Ashley Westwood’s ideology behind the European style 4-1-3-2 possession based approach as opposed to the pragmatic 4-4-2 ‘hoof-ball’ game we have been accustomed to seeing previously in the country. It’s a formation clearly concerned with more advance football that Ashley Westwood has experienced with the likes of Blackburn Rovers, Portsmouth etc. When asked what he did differently to what he would in England, Westwood was quick to tell us that the key behind Bengaluru FC’s success is that they didn’t do anything different to that in England, and that worked in the side’s favour. Ashley Westwood had made it clear to the club owners that he wanted to implement an attacking brand of football, common to many teams in England and the lower leagues but largely alien to the Indian sub-continent.

“Before I came here, I had spoken to everyone connected with the club and one of the questions they asked me was what would be the style of play. I had made my mind up that we wanted to be an attacking side. We wanted to be a whole-hearted and committed side, with emphasis on modern fitness and team shape.

We didn’t come here and say Indian players play this way or the English players play that way. We came in with our system, everyone adapted to that quite quickly and it was just a question of building on the foundation at the club. There is no difference would be my answer to how we’d approach things in England and India and that’s the reason we’ve been so successful. I’ve not done anything differently to what I was doing at Championship clubs, the lads have responded well and we’ve all seen the results.”

It was the type of football, essentially, that has seen Bengaluru FC triumph this season. A system which is ‘normal’ in more established footballing regions, it was well-advanced for the level of football this part of the country is accustomed to.

Westwood was particularly clear to state how well they’ve emphasised on the importance of training, working hard on non-matchdays and how well the players have responded to the system.

“I’ve trained the boys exactly how I would at a Championship club. The training sessions are no different (to the ones in England). It got us a while to get the players up on fitness but with 4-5 weeks under the belt, it was normal. Just like it would be at a Championship club.”

As is common with any football club towards the end of the season, fans are eager to find out what plans the management has for the new season. Without dwelling into too many details, Ashley Westwood stated how the club would be looking for new targets, new players which will be needed to improve the squad. And this is vital as Parth Jindal quickly pointed out how the club has every intention of retaining the I-League title for years to come. Easier said than done, but certainly within the side’s capabilities for which improvements are needed.

Sunil Chhetri was asked how potential new players would effect the balance of the team and the “family” they’ve built already. But again as fans will realise, Chhetri too explained how improvements are always needed and the coach is trusted by the players. As long as they work hard, have a good work-ethic, they will be rewarded.

MORE READING | Head this way for more articles on Bengaluru FC

The management also told the press how they’ve set out new goals and will face new challenges in the coming season. Retaining the title is probably more difficult than winning it initially. Bengaluru FC came into their first season with a lot of excitement and anticipation but next season they’ll be dealing with a lot of pressure which their success has thrown upon them; intriguing to see how the largely young squad deal with it.

The topic of continental obligations came up and we were interested to know what Ashley Westwood’s perception of the competition is and how will they deal with the added number of games. The ex-United youngster was honest in his reply as he stated that, understandably, the team will be effected by having to play in another competition, but it’s something they’re excited to deal with. Both Westwood and Jindal stated that the club was adamant they would try everything in their hands to be the first Indian club to participate in the AFC Champions League, for which they will have to play a rather difficult qualifier.

“Obviously, the extra games will affect us and that’s where pre-season and off-season planning comes into play. We know that we are going play in such a competition, so it’s up to us to organise ourselves and make sure it doesn’t make a big impact. After winning the I-League, the next trophy is the AFC Cup and we’ll make sure that it doesn’t affect us too much.”

Sunil ChhetriWe were also keen to get Sunil Chhetri’s idea behind how the training at Bengaluru FC compared to that which he experienced during his stint in Portugal and the United States, and how the professionalism compared as well. The Indian team captain too stated that Bengaluru FC was as professional as any club he had played in, pointing out how the fitness coaches kept the side motivated by making references to European clubs like Manchester City – “Man City players do this in training everyday, why can’t you?!”

“As far as professionalism is considered, we are almost there. That is the only reason we are champions today. You know you can talk about a lot of things, but the most important thing is how we train. You can compare the methods here to the best clubs in the world.”

Parth Jindal and Mustapha Ghouse also stated how the club had utilised the services of sports science institute, H.E.A.L, based out of Mumbai, further showing how the club has used modern techniques used in European football in an ever evolving sports industry.

Captain Sunil Chhetri was also quizzed about how the media has criticised him by stating that he only turns up for the national team and has largely been absent at club level, and whether this seasons’ performance has put an end to that notion. Chhetri’s goal against Dempo in the match that confirmed the title, equaled Baichung Bhutia’s goal-scoring record, and he has one more game to surpass it. The captain stated that he hoped that more people make these claims as it only drives him forward, keeps him motivated and that his effort was the same at all levels.

“I wish they still go on, they keep me motivated. Whenever I hear that I don’t play for the club like I do for the national team, it makes me more hungry to do well. Hence, I hope the tag doesn’t stop today. From the day I started playing football, I haven’t bothered much about what people say as at the end of the day, as long as I do what I can to the best of my abilities. It didn’t change when I wasn’t scoring, it won’t change when I’m scoring now. People can continue to talk, it just motivates me to do better.”

Ashley Westwood was also asked about possibly taking over at Manchester United, now that David Moyes has been sacked. “They can’t afford me!” was Westwood’s prompt reply who a few days back in Goa, after the Dempo win was asked the same question and stated Man United’s “telescope doesn’t reach this far”.

As has been the topic of discussion among Indian football followers, CEO Parth Jindal was asked about his thoughts on the newly created Indian Super League, which works as competition for the existing I-League. A few stares and looks before Jindal made his stance clear that he wouldn’t talk about the ISL as he isn’t associated with it. He wished them luck but refused to comment further.

A rather bizarre question was asked by one of the reporters on an unnamed steel magnate from the city who was interested in getting English club Arsenal to the city for a pre-season friendly. Mr Jindal’s response of bewilderment was mirrored by most in the room, and us ourselves as he completely denied the rumour and questioned it’s authenticity.

Bengaluru FC has also announced their Soccer Schools program, to promote grassroots football in the country, something we wrote about recently. Parth Jindal provided more clarity on the topic.

“We launched BFC soccer schools a week ago and that is another opportunity for us to scout talent. Young players from there will be inducted into our youth academy. Our aim is to look for young talent in Bangalore and there is an abundance of that here. As we speak, a ground is being constructed at Vijaynagar. The academy will be used to train talent not only for players from Bangalore but the entire country. Obviously, the focus will be on Karnataka but it will be a pan-India academy.”

To end the session we got one final question across to the boss. We were informed on Twitter by a Crewe fan how Ashley Westwood is actually a Crewe Alexandra legend, where he has played 125 games. When we asked him whether his time at Crewe was more memorable or the legendary status he has achieve at Bengaluru FC, he was humble in his response and refused to consider himself to be a legend, insisting it was a team effort and credit should be equally shared. Clearly Ashley has learnt how to handle the media during his time in England.

The club definitely look determined to achieve their goals and are continuing to set the benchmark for the rest to follow both on and off the field. Just merely holding this press conference in front of the established media stations, and this website, is a huge step which most clubs in the past have failed to do so. Promotion is as important as the actual application itself, and Bengaluru FC are paving the way for more success in the coming seasons.

Special thanks to Bengaluru FC Media Head, Kunaal Majgaonkar, for inviting us to this event. Featured image taken from bengalurufc.com

Sami Faizullah

Sami Faizullah

Co-founder and Chief Editor here. Obsessed with tactics. Keen follower of young players. Creator of #TalentRadar.
Sami Faizullah

100 to Watch

Latest

Indian Football2 months ago

Indian Super League 2017-18: U-23 Young Indian Players’ Team of the Season

At the end of the 2017-18 Indian Super League season, it is time for us at Outside of the Boot...

Indian Football2 months ago

Scout Report: Jerry Lalrinzuala | India’s Promising Young Defender

Hrishi Anand provides a scout report which analyses India and Chennaiyin’s promising young defender, Jerry Lalrinzuala Indian football has taken...

Scout Report2 months ago

Scout Report: Houssem Aouar | Lyon’s young midfield star

Kwame Atteen writes a detailed scout report about Houssem Aouar, the Lyon and France midfielder. While we are all so...

Talent Radar3 months ago

U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #16: Youri Tielemans and Patrick Cutrone feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...

Talent Radar4 months ago

Brasileirão U-23 Young Players’ Team of the Season 2017: Talent Radar

As the 2017 Brasileirao season has finished, it is time for us at Outside of the Boot to recognize the...

Talent Radar4 months ago

2017 Meiji Yasuda J1 League: Top 5 U-22 Players of the Season

Steven Davies sits down and takes a look at, who in his opinion, have been the best of a bright...

Opinions4 months ago

The Resurrection of Nicklas Bendtner

Harry Burford writes about the resurrection of Nicklas Bendtner. Whilst Denmark’s Nicklas Bendtner has all but disappeared from our collective footballing...

Bengaluru FC4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: ATK 0-2 Bengaluru

Arinjay Ghosh discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished ATK 0-2 Bengaluru Bengaluru FC scored...

Indian Football4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: ATK 1-2 Chennaiyin

Arinjay Ghosh discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished ATK 1-2 Chennaiyin Chennaiyin FC came...

Talent Radar4 months ago

U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #15: Franck Kessie and Leon Bailey feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...

Indian Football4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Pune City 3-0 ATK

Naven Venkat discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Pune City 3-0 ATK Playing the...

Indian Football4 months ago

Mohun Bagan Vs East Bengal: The Enduring Allure Of The Kolkata Derby

Arinjay Ghosh looks at the significance of the Kolkata Derby and why in the ever-changing landscape of Indian football, Mohun...

Indian Football4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Mumbai City 0-1 Kerala Blasters

Vatsal Dani discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Mumbai City 0-1 Kerala Blasters Iain...

Bengaluru FC4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Delhi Dynamos 2-2 Bengaluru

Aakriti Mehrotra discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Delhi Dynamos 2-0 Bengaluru When Delhi...

Bengaluru FC4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Bengaluru 1-0 ATK

Arnab Ray discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Bengaluru 1-0 ATK With the Indian...

Indian Football4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Chennaiyin 2-2 Delhi Dynamos

Hrishi Anand discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Chennaiyin 2-2 Delhi Dynamos Chennaiyin FC...

Indian Football5 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: ATK 1-1 FC Goa

Arinjay Ghosh discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished ATK 1-1 FC Goa FC Goa...

Indian Football5 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Pune City 5-0 NorthEast United

Naven Venkat discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Pune City 5-0 NorthEast United This...

Tactical Analysis5 months ago

Tactical Analysis: Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona | Los Blancos Implode in the 2nd Half

Om Arvind provides a tactical analysis of the La Liga game that finished Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona Barcelona were 11...

Indian Football5 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: ATK 1-0 Delhi Dynamos

Arinjay Ghosh discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished ATK 1-0 Delhi Dynamos ATK rode...

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Young Player Rankings 17-18

More on Outside of the Boot

Previous Next
Close
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this