Ashley Westwood, head coach of Bengaluru FC, said that he was fairly satisfied with the point that the Blues earned in their 1-1 draw against DSK Shivajians FC and believed that the point might just turn out to be quite a valuable acquisition.
“It was important that we didn’t lose, which we obviously did not. In the context of the League, this point can have a significant impact and sets everything up”, he said. Benglauru are second on the I-League chart with 26 points from 13 games. Mohun Bagan are on equal points but take top-spot by virtue of a better head-to-head record against the Blues.
Westwood though was confident that his side has their future firmly in their own hands. “We know what we need to do. As it stands now, we need seven points from the next nine. If we win two and draw one, we will win the League, it is as simple as that. We have worked hard to put ourselves in this position. The other teams do not have this luxury. They are waiting for us to slip up and that will serve as good motivation for us to not let up on the momentum. There are lots of twists and turns to come but currently we have got matters firmly in our own hands,” he said.
With John Johnson’s first half yellow card against DSK ruling him out of the East Bengal fixture on Sunday, the Gaffer was quick to pull off Curtis Osano, a change which allowed him tactical mobility and the chance to try out a new system. “Curtis was on three yellows and we couldn’t afford for him to be suspended. Also, when I put three at the back it was more of a case of exploiting DSK’s weaknesses. They were not very solid down the sides and we spread out our five midfielders and used the wings to put in a lot of crosses. Also, at the end of the first half, we were under pressure in the middle of the park and the five-man midfield ensured that we plugged that hole as well,” he said.
Sunil Chhetri returned to action after missing the Mumbai FC game and Westwood heaped praise on the Bengaluru skipper, lauding his work rate and fitness. “Sunil worked hard really hard, played multiple positions and did everything that I asked of him. He ran till the last minute, galvanised the players and also created the goal through a great free kick. He was a top performer, physically”, he said.
With a huge clash against East Bengal coming up at the Kanteerava Stadium this Sunday, Westwood exhorted his team to carry on their good form and momentum while adding some more precision in the final third. “We need to threaten the goal a little bit more. I am fairly happy with our form. We looked fit and fairly sharp.” he said.