ISL: It's all about bouncing back for Bengaluru FC and Simon Grayson
It's time for Bengaluru FC to scheme another resurgence like they have done in the past, something they are very well capable to do.
Just like Bengaluru FC compelled their season to turn around for the better through a great deal of grit, character, and spirit, it's time for the Blues to recoup and do what they do best: bounce back.
"We had achieved something by getting into the finals, but no one remembers the team who finishes second. We've achieved a lot this season: we won the Durand Cup, had an 11-game winning streak to get here which showed spirit and character and a lot of good quality.
"We'll dwell on it, we'll talk about it because that's what you do after losing a major final. Hopefully that will make us stronger and help us bounce back," head coach Simon Grayson surmised after the defeat to ATK Mohun Bagan, who pipped Grayson's side in the penalty shootout to clinch their first ISL title.
In the thick of things was goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. While in the second leg of the semi-final against Mumbai City FC Sandhu had his penalty-saving gloves on, the goalie saved none when it mattered the most. However, he too echoes his coach's words.
"Very challenging (facing six penalties in the final) in terms of how long we played, and how long the game went on. Honestly, I'm physically very tired. It was one of those never-ending games when you face penalties. That's what it is and we accept it and move on from it," the custodian said in the post-final press conference.
"For me, it was more about coming together and feeling proud of what we've done regardless of tonight's result, and make sure we bounce back from this. That's what BFC does," he added.
The ATK Mohun Bagan hopped and skipped as soon as Pablo Perez missed his penalty, while the Bengaluru FC players were left distraught with their heads shaking in disbelief, and heads touching the ground in sorrow. While the Blues would have tried to avert their eyes from ATKMB's celebratory scenes, Grayson encouraged otherwise.
"The last words I tell my players after a crucial game is to not have any regrets. The other message I say is to take it in, the opposition celebrating, use it as a motivation for next year, or even in the Super Cup," the Englishman said.
After a couple of days off, Bengaluru are expected to get back on their track and prepare for the Super Cup, where they face Kerala Blasters, Roundglass Punjab, and the winner of Qualifier 1.