It's not about me and Westwood: Bengaluru FC coach Roca

File Photo : Albert Roca
IANS|06-Jan-2018 19:15

Bengaluru, Jan 6 : Bengaluru FC head coach Albert Roca on Saturday brushed aside talk of former boss Ashley Westwood's influence in their game against ATK with the latter being the technical director of the visitors at present in the Indian Super League (ISL).

Bengaluru take on reigning champions ATK at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Sunday with their first-ever I-League winning coach Westwood on the other side of the fence.

Asked if that would bear any influence on the game on the morrow, and whether ATK would have an upper hand with Westwood knowing Bengaluru well, Roca said a lot of water has passed under the bridge since the Briton left in 2016 and he would not even be on the bench to call the shots.

"I think things have changed since he left. There are a lot of new faces with new foreigners whom he hasn't seen. He knows everything because he has been here working for so many years. But it's not a challenge for me. It's not our game, it's Kolkata and Bengaluru trying to get three points," Roca told reporters on the eve of the game.

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"He (Westwood) is not even on the bench. For him, it can be a special game but not for me. It's another game for me and a difficult one. Not because he is there but for the players they have," the 51-year old added.

Westwood helped Bengaluru to an I-League title in their debut season, in 2014, also winning a Federation Cup in 2014-15, and finishing second in the I-League last year, losing out to Mohun Bagan in the season finale.

Roca was also asked about the clutch of coaches being sacked at present in the ISL.

"It's the law of football. IF things doesn't go well, people blame the coach. I don't like my companions to be sacked after 7-8 games. Perhaps you don't have time enough to prove your value," Roca said.

A win on Sunday will see Bengaluru, third on the points table with 15 points from eight games, go top of the tree. But Roca stressed on team balance being the key if they are to go the distance in what he called a "short and difficult league."

"For me, the team balance has to be better if we want to reach the goal. We are not far away from the first position but we are not far away also to be out of that (top four). So let's learn quickly from these games and be ready," Roca said.

"It is a difficult championship. It is very short and we cannot conceded a lot of chances to other teams," the coach added.

On ATK, he said the twice champions have the likes of Irish star Robbie Keane and the hosts will have to be on guard.

"ATK have players like Robbie Keane in front who has played for big clubs. We have to pay attention to that. Three of their four game they have not lost, so they have shown they are a good team and we are expecting a good game tomorrow."