Bengaluru FC Manager Ashley Westwood and Captain Sunil Chhetri give their views on Federation Cup win
We’ve won a trophy and we’re over the moon. It was always our aim because we wanted to show everyone that last season wasn’t a fluke. We wanted everyone to see why we are champions and we wanted to come in and put on a good show. I’m completely pleased with the boys, not just today but throughout the tournament. Right back to when we started on July 17th, they’ve been magnificent professionals and the hard-work has paid off in this tournament.
On the key elements of the squad:
There are loads of things that I can mention as our key elements. The organisation, the boys looking after themselves off the pitch, making sure they’re coming in for training every day and giving it maximum effort. They listen and apply themselves and take everything on board in terms of what we’re giving them. The collective effort of everyone associated with the club, we’ve got some magnificent people here and with everyone pulling in the same direction I hope we go from strength to strength.
On the Bengaluru defence
The backline have performed really well, but what they’re paid to do. They’re not doing anything out of the ordinary, if they’re not doing what they are doing, we’ll look to drop them and bring in a change. Although they’re doing well and they deserve better praise, that’s what they do and that’s what they should do. If they didn’t do that, we’d look to strengthen in those areas and that’s the beauty of our club. We give them the framework, we give them the preparation and we tell them what’s required and if it’s not up to the standard then we try to replace and strengthen. At the moment everything is going well, but we have to keep striving. We can’t sit back and think we’re top of the world because we’re not. We’ve got loads of football to play this season.
“If you look over our games against Dempo, we’ve beaten them twice. We scored early in both those games so we were hopeful of getting an early goal. We wanted to take the game to them, we wanted to go and attack it. We lost Joshua (Walker) after 20-25 minutes and we had to reshuffle which shows our strength and depth. We had to change our tactics a bit and we showed that we can be adaptable and that we can change under circumstances which is key to any successful football club.
On Joshua Walker’s injury
Joshua’s got a hamstring strain, nothing serious. We’ll have a bit of time in the morning to assess it and get him back to full fitness as soon as possible. It’s just one of those injuries that comes from accumulative stress. Six games in fourteen days and two games in 45 hours for us is a ridiculous schedule, you wouldn’t see that in any tournament of any stature anywhere else in the world. Two games in 45 hours for us is a ridiculous schedule and you can see that when Joshua pulls his hamstring and then Tolgay pulls his hamstring. These organisers are putting players at risk with this packed schedule and it shouldn’t happen.
On winning the Federation Cup
Winning the Federation Cup is always a pleasant feeling. When you keep winning matches and you keep scoring goals you start to forget about it the very next day. In eight months, hopefully, we’ll be talking about the next I-League that we won. Any victory means everything to us and right now it’s the Federation Cup.”
On the youngsters at the Federation Cup
A lot players came in and a lot of youngsters are doing really well. Having said that I hope there were a lot more gaps in the schedule because you’re putting a lot of pressure on the players and a lot of them are playing under risk. As the gaffer said, six games in 14 days is a schedule you won’t hear of anywhere else in the world. It wasn’t easy to pull through the tournament, not only for us but every team in the tournament especially Dempo and us who went all the way. I hope we can plan this tournament much better in the future so that the youngsters can recover and play well and as much as they can”.
On his current form:
It’s only because I’m part of a great team here. We’re improving every day we play. When you take part in 6 games over a 14 day period, it’s very important to look after ourselves and stay together as a team, not only on the pitch but off it as well. Despite all the goals we score that everyone talks about, those are secondary. Winning matches as a team is always the primary objective. We celebrate every goal as a team, we score as a team and we concede as a team.
About scoring 6 goals in the tournament:
As we said, in our team it doesn’t matter who scores. Even if I had scored none and had won the tournament, I’d have felt the same. Honestly, in our team it’s not about who’s scoring goals. It’s always been about winning games. Robin (Singh) came on and scored a very important goal, Sean has been scoring, Eugeneson (Lyngdoh) scored an important goal. It’s always good to have different scorers and prolific goal-scorers but it’s never been the focal point of our team.
On moving to Bengaluru FC:
It’s not tough at all as there’s not much responsibility at all. I’m just like any other player. I’m just given small duties just like the other players. It’s a bunch of very peculiar and very particular things to do and it becomes very easy to do. Everyone’s given a specific set of things to do and they all know what’s expected of them. That makes our team click and carry on forward and I don’t think I’ve received any duty that’s different from those of any other player on the team.