Defending Champions ATK In Dire Straits

Saturday, 3 February 2018
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ATK will desperately look for a win when they meet table toppers Bengaluru FC in the Hero Indian Super League tie at the Yuva Bharati Krirangan Stadium, on Saturday. Because they know that anything less than that would mean an early exit for the defending champions.  
 
Having failed to repeat the consistency of the past seasons, ATK are currently 10 points adrift of the top four places with just six games left. But their interim coach, Ashley Westwood believes his side still has a "mathematical chance" of making it to playoffs. 
 
"It is still a mathematical possibility. If we win 6 out of 6, I'm sure we'll be close.  So there is definitely motivation in the team. When you are a professional, you have to keep playing and keeping winning points for your team. You have a duty towards your clubs and your fans. So tomorrow, we will fire on all cylinder and try to get all three points," Westwood told reporters at the pre-match press conference.
 
Since taking over from Teddy Sherringham last month, Westwood, who was brought in to resurrect their season, has faced two consecutive defeats. But the English tactician believes his side can still turn it around. But it isn't that straight forward though. To be in contention, ATK not only need to win all of their remaining six games but they will also hope that other teams above them on the table makes mistakes.
 
On the up side for the Kolkata team  their star player Robbie Keane could make a comeback in the game "He came back to the country on Sunday. He trained with us this morning.  We need to access where he is with his fitness. Obviously, we need to make sure we don't make mistakes regarding putting him in too early. We know how much he wants to play and if required I'm sure he'll be fine," Westwood said. 
 
Bengaluru FC, on the other hand, will be looking to continue their dominance at the top of ISL standings. Coach Albert Roca wants his side to keep their focus intact with playoffs not very far away. 
 
"In Delhi we thought it was a easy three points but that didn't happen, So there is no easy game in ISL. Even ATK are not doing well, but they still have some possibilities. And tomorrow, they will try to win and show that there are those possibilities," Roca said at the press conference. 
 
Bengaluru FC are fresh from a 3-0 win over Transport United in the AFC Cup. Roca's men have also won their last two ISL games, but Roca still feels their needs to be more balance in their performance. 
"We want to keep a clean sheet. I think that is important for a team. I am still trying to find that balance in the team. We still haven't won three consecutive games. We still need to push ourselves," he said.