By Debayan Mukherjee,
NEW DELHI: Bengaluru FC Head Coach Ashley Westwood is making sure that ‘development’ is the buzzword at newborn Bengaluru FC as they get ready to play their first-ever Airtel I-League Match against heavyweights Mohun Bagan on Sunday (September 22, 2013). In a freewheeling interview to www.the-aiff.com on the eve of their match, the former Manchester United Youth Player spoke on the advantage of having a young Squad, the firsts at Bengaluru FC, Mohun Bagan, Manchester Derby and much more.
First match of the Season, new team, as a head Coach what goes through your mind.
I am very excited. In fact we all are. We have trained so hard, played five Pre Season Friendlies among which one was with India. We drew against them 1-1. So things are looking good for us and I have full confidence on my Boys.
You play Mohun Bagan first. Is it good to face a relatively strong opponent first up or otherwise?
I respect Mohun Bagan. They are one of the top Clubs of India and have won a lot of Trophies. They have some really good players too. But at the same time you start a match 0-0, with everything to play for. We are a young Squad looking to make an impression in the I-League and are raring to go. I am more concerned about what we are going to do.
How has the Team shaped up?
As I said, we have played five Pre-Season Friendlies and the transition from the first match to the fifth one has been superb. The best things about having a youth Squad is that they are always willing to learn. In these five matches, they have and that is very pleasing. We have Senior Players in the side too like Sunil (Chhetri) who inspires the Boys. I am happy with the way we have shaped up.
How much is it a challenge to Coach brand new outfits?
I wouldn’t like to be drawn into any comparisons. I have experience of Coaching in the Championship in England as well as in the Premier League which is the highest level. All I can say is that I am very excited at the prospect of Coaching a brand new outfit, with a little chance of creating history.
What will be your aim this Season.
I haven’t set any aim as to where to finish at the end of the Season. I want to focus on development more and building the Team. I would want Bengaluru FC to be a household name. People should like our style of play. We have been given time to build on the foundation and I would want that to happen first. Winning will come along.
Michael Laudrup has said that it takes three transfer windows to build a side. You are starting from scratch. How do you plan to build?
Absolutely. It takes time to make your mark as a Team, especially when you are starting from scratch. We haven’t reached that stage of transfers just now but of course time has to be given for the long term development. That should be the priority. I am glad to have a good support Staff who share the same ideas and we are treading the same path.
Finally, there is a Manchester Derby as well on Sunday? You must be keen to catch up with that too!
Being a part of the Club once, definitely I would love to. We play at 4 o’clock on Sunday and I would like to hope that we all enjoy the match later on Sunday night after a good result. What happens from 4PM and the next ninety minutes is priority No.1 for me.
Photo Courtesy: Bengaluru FC