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ISL 2018-19: 'We Haven't Scored Enough Goals' - ATK Defender John Johnson

Rohith Nair
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Exclusive
228   //    14 Dec 2018, 09:05 IST

ATK defender John Johnson [Image: ISL]
ATK defender John Johnson [Image: ISL]

Bengaluru FC continued their unbeaten run in the Indian Super League with a 1-0 win over ATK at the Kanteerava Stadium on Thursday night and ATK defender John Johnson lamented his side's finishing as Erik Paartalu's goal gave the home side all three points.

Speaking to Sportskeeda after the game, the former Bengaluru FC centre-back spoke about his side's chances of qualifying for the playoffs and what the Kolkata side needed to do to get there.

What was it like returning to Bengaluru and playing against BFC?

"It was very strange to come back. I've had some great memories here. The fans are brilliant as always and it was a great reception, so I thank them for that.

"We knew it would be a tough challenge. We created a lot of chances and I thought we should have got something from the game. It was a great challenge for us and I thought we did ok."

You created ATK's best chance for Balwant Singh (who shot wide)...

"It's something we've been working on. Balwant's got great movement - he's quick and strong so we can play that pass. Tonight he got himself into some great positions and he was just very unlucky not to put one away.

"We'll regroup now; we've got a little break so we'll come back stronger."

Any positives from the 1-0 loss to Bengaluru FC?

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"Yes, we created a lot of chances and our forwards played really well. There was a stage in the second half when I thought we were going to score a goal and get back into it.

"We played well as a team so I'm positive going into the break."

What does ATK need to improve on to get into the Top 4?

"I think we can score more goals. We haven't scored enough goals. But we're a new bunch of players and I think we're playing well together. We're improving all the time so that's a positive.

"I'm feeling confident that we can get some wins on the board after the break. Things can change quickly."

John Johnson catches up with former defensive partner Juanan before the game [Image: ISL]
John Johnson catches up with former defensive partner Juanan before the game [Image: ISL]

Does ATK need goals from other players and not just strikers?

"They come from everywhere. The defenders can chip in... We do have that striker where you put the ball in and gives your team a lot of confidence.

"Bengaluru rely a lot on Miku while Goa relies on Coro. It's only natural that if you have a top striker then you're guaranteed to get goals."

In hindsight, will the three 0-0 draws come back to haunt ATK?

"I'm not sure. We performed well in games - we could have won, we could have lost. It's ifs and buts in football. As long as we keep working hard and keep improving like we are I'm very confident we can do well."

Having played for both clubs, what are the key differences in philosophies between ATK and Bengaluru FC?

"It's hard to say, really. It's two different styles of football - that's there for everyone to see. From a personal point of view, I'm learning different styles from the coach [Steve Coppell] and it's helping me in my own personal game.

"It's one I've enjoyed and it's nice to play under different coaches and learn new things."

As an experienced campaigner in Indian football, do your teammates look up to you for advice?

"Yes, definitely. I give them advice and they give me advice. They help me as much as I help them - you learn things from everybody. I think it's important to keep learning from everyone and we all chip in together.

"It's not just one-way. I learn much from them as much as they learn from me and it's been good."

A message for the West Block Blues who chanted your name?

"Thank you to the West Block Blues! It was a great reception and it was lovely to be back here and see you all. Keep doing well for the team, keep supporting them and I wish you all the very best. Thank you again!"

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