Federation Cup: Bengaluru FC coach plays down pressure talk

PTI| Updated: Jan 11, 2014, 21:47 PM IST

Bangalore: Bengaluru FC coach Ashley Westwood today said a week`s time off from competitive games should give his team an edge in the upcoming Federation Cup in Kerala from January 14 to 26.

"We have come back rejuvenated and spent this time off from competitive games to train and conduct tests on boys. This should surely give us an edge in the tournament," he said during an interaction with mediapersons here.

Appearing for the first time in the tournament, Bengaluru will lock horns against Sporting Clube de Goa in their campaign opener on January 15.

Bengaluru are pooled in Group B, which is dubbed as `Group of Death`, with East Bengal and Rangdajied United the other two teams in the fray.

Westwood, however, played down the pressure the visitors will be under going into the tournament.

Bengaluru top the I-League points table and Westwood said rankings are not an indicator of success at the Federation Cup.

"Inspite of having a league stage, it is as good as a knockout right from the first game. If you lose one, you are left far behind. It doesn`t matter what position you are on I-League points table," he said.

Bengaluru skipper Sunil Chhetri, who is the leading scorer with nine goals in the I-League, said, "If we start doing the math, we put ourselves under pressure and no one in the team wants that."

"A big reason why we are leading the League table is because we play every game with zero pressure. We leave all the thinking to the fantastic coaching staff we have at the club. Our job is only to execute," he added.

The team`s Australian star, Sean Rooney and midfielder John Menyongar are in great touch and would like to make the impression from the very first game.

Central defender Johnson, who took a nasty hit on the cheek in the Salgaocar game that led to him being substituted, has also recovered from his injury.

Bengaluru take on Cup holders East Bengal on January 21 before the clash with Shillong side Rangdajied United on January 18.