‘Will give our best, rest will fall in place’

There’s something liberating about the way C.K. Vineeth plays and if anything, he wears his heart on his sleeve.

There’s something liberating about the way C.K. Vineeth plays and if anything, he wears his heart on his sleeve.

“All I want to do is play football, so it doesn’t matter if I have to run a lot, be a striker or a winger or even a goalkeeper. As long as I’m playing I’m happy and I try to give my best in every role I play,” said Vineeth, revealing his unmistakable passion.

And it is this quality that Bengaluru FC will be banking on when they take on Air Force Club Iraq in the AFC Cup final, the biggest game in Indian club football history, this Saturday.

And Vineeth is confident that his side can more than match up to their opponents.

“One of the biggest lessons that football can teach is that no team in the world is unbeatable. On our day, we can beat any side. We just have to give our best and let rest take care of itself,” said the Kannur-born lad.

“We are looking at it as another game that we have to win. We don’t want to put ourselves under any pressure by thinking of the magnitude of the game. If you look, even the semifinal was a big game for us, but we handled it well. We hope that the final too pans out in a similar fashion,” he added.

Having been used more as an impact player by previous coach Ashley Westwood, Vineeth has been one of the central figures in Albert Roca’s plans, starting all four of the games under the Spaniard.

While the change is welcomed by the 28-year-old, he is quick to give the former manager his due.

“Back when Ashley (Westwood) was around, he used to say just one thing to me — ‘Play to your strengths and give your best.’ That message still stays with me. I try to make it as simple as it can get,” stressed Vineeth.

“I don’t think there’s much difference in my role, be it under Ashley or Roca. I started as a winger and it was Ashley who thought I would be better utilised as a striker. And since then, my role has changed. But now with Roca coming in, I still continue to be a striker.

“My job is pretty simple even now, press hard in the final third, run for the loose ball, help your strike partner and above all score goals,” he added.

The Indian forward also lauded the team’s work ethic which has seen them adapt well to the new possession-based approach under the new regime.

“Frankly it’s hard. Though from the outside it’s beautiful, only the players know how hard it’s to run up and down, get the ball, get into a free position and continue doing that for 90 minutes.”

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