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Westwood brushes aside talks of pressure ahead of East Bengal fixture

Bengaluru FC training session.

Ashley Westwood went the other way of popular belief and said his Bengaluru FC side was under no pressure as they prepare to take on East Bengal Club at the Barasat Stadium, in Kolkata, on Saturday. The Blues suffered their first defeat of the I-League, going down 2-0 to Mumbai FC at The Cooperage on Wednesday and while the media suggested the result added a hint of pressure before a key game, Westwood chose to think otherwise.

“If you look at the league as it is, we’re through a quarter of it and if you win three out of every four games, you’ll win the league. So, there’s no real pressure on us. Statistically you normally win only 25% of your away games; we’ve won 66% of them so hopefully it will pay dividends at the end of the season,” said the gaffer while addressing the media along with right-back Rino Anto, in Kolkata on the eve of the game.

The Blues, with 9 points from four games, lead a table that has East Bengal trailing them by only a point and Westwood stated that the Kolkata club looked a more solid unit than last season. “They have the new Korean lad (Do Dong) ahead and he is quick, while Ranti Martins is physical. They definitely look more solid this season than last.”

The two teams have met four times in the I-League with East Bengal winning three of those games. However, Bengaluru FC turned the tide the last time the two met with a comprehensive 3-0 result at the Kanteerava. And Rino believes the new additions to the Blues’ squad have only strengthened them since. “We’ve always been about churning out a good work rate and with our new signings that has only improved. We may not have had the best of outings against East Bengal in the past but we have the quality to change that.”

Saturday will be the first time Bengaluru FC play at the Barasat and on being questioned whether Bengaluru FC’s choosing not to train at the venue on match eve would make things difficult in terms of gauging conditions, Westwood brushed aside the suggestion. “We usually never train at the match venue a day before. There’s a myth in India that you should go and train at the venue before the game but that doesn’t happen in England. I don’t see why it must happen here,” said Westwood.

A rescheduled kick-off means a 16.05 IST start to the game which will be telecast live on Ten Action.