Westwood: 'Hope a new chapter unfolds in Indian football'

Under Ashley Westwood, Bengaluru FC lifted the I-League in its debut season and followed that up with a second-place finish in the next season.

Bengaluru FC players toss up their coach Ashley Westwood in celebration after their I-League title triumph.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Former coach Ashley Westwood, who had set the ball rolling for Bengaluru FC, says he is hoping to see a “new chapter unfolding in Indian football” when the Blues play in the final of the AFC Cup.

Bengaluru FC takes on Iraq’s Al Quwa Al Jawiya in Saturday’s final at the Qatar SC Stadium here.

Asked what would be his message to his former club, Westwood said, “I would wish them all the best before the D-Day. Now it all boils down to the last 90 minutes. They have to believe in themselves and put up a great show up to their potential. I’m hoping to see a new chapter of Indian football history unfold in Doha on November 5.”

Asked if he was expecting Bengaluru to make the final, the Englishman said, “Yes, I did. I anticipated a high-octane match and there was no reason to not to expect that. Although Bengaluru FC conceded an early goal they pulled it off nicely to the end. They deserved to be in the final and now they have a gigantic task ahead.”

Under Westwood, Bengaluru lifted the I-League in its debut season and followed that up with a second-place finish in the next season.

He said, “It’s a fantastic achievement. The sublime fact stays that everybody connected to the club has worked really hard to achieve this. Till date, Indian people used to know about JSW Bengaluru FC and their achievements. But from now on, time has come to let the outer world know about JSW Bengaluru FC’s credibility, their real worth.”

Asked what he had expected from the club when he took charge three years back, Westwood was quoted as saying by www.the-aiff.com, “We had believed in ourselves and had a strong desire to prove ourselves. In the first year itself Bengaluru FC had won the I-League followed by the Federation Cup next season. Even after winning three trophies in three successive seasons we didn’t sit back but tried to achieve more. The urge to win more, to accomplish a new challenge is the key to success of JSW Bengaluru FC.”

When asked about his coaching philosophy, he said, “It’s professionalism and there’s no supplementary of it. I tried to create a football environment where everybody would enjoy their work. This is utmost important to each and every club’s success.”

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