The champions kick off their title defence against Shillong Lajong in their I-League opener on Saturday.
Bengaluru: Having endeared himself to the fans after leading Bengaluru FC to the historic AFC Cup final in November, coach Albert Roca is all set for the challenges ahead in the new season.
The champions kick off their title defence against Shillong Lajong in their I-League opener on Saturday while AFC Champions League qualifying round against Al-Wahdat await at the end of the month.
“It can be a long season with a lot of tough games. We have to be ready for all competitions. I will try to get to the second leg in the Champions League if possible. All our supporters expect the best out of us and we have to be ready for that,” said Roca on Tuesday.
“I don’t like to talk about pressure, I want to talk about challenge. It’s a challenge. I want to have a good dynamic. A positive one because then one day if we lose, we are still playing good and the team will be always at a level to win,” he added.
When asked about what his expectations are, the Spaniard replied:
“Just to be better (than last season). My mission right now is to just push my players to think that it’s possible (to achieve all that we did last year) again. I’ve come here with the idea to get to that (top) level ...not in three-four months, but to see that we are moving in that direction.
“The idea is not just for us to be a good team but to produce players who can play for the Indian national team and help them do better.”
Onus on newbies to adapt
Having singed the likes of Harmanjot Khabra, Lenny Rodrigues and Mandar Rao Desai among others to bolster the squad, the former Barcelona assistant manager believes that the onus is on the players to adapt to his passing system.
“We like to follow how we played in the past. It will be difficult because we lost Alvaro Rubio. It’s not going to be easy to keep control of that situation. The players that have come will have to try their best and keep that situation that we want.
“It’s always a question of being able to adapt and it’s not easy. All the players that have come and all players who were here before, they know that I like to play football. It’s not possible to do that all the time and we need to adapt,” he revealed.
Roca also stated that the final foreigner, believed to be a striker, is unlikely to take part in the season opener.
The club will also be missing the services of Lalchhuanmawia Fanai, Rino Anto, Gursimrat Singh, Lalthuammawia Ralte and Salam Ranjan Singh who are all out injured for the opening month’s fixtures.