Subrata Paul: My focus is solely on the match against ATK

Jamshedpur FC will be on the road to play against ATK in a crucial match on Sunday. A win in the encounter will help Cesar Ferrando's men draw level on points with fourth-placed NorthEast United FC and hand their playoff ambitions a huge boost.

Ahead of the crunch tie, sat down with Jamshedpur custodian Subrata Paul for an exclusive chat. Here are the excerpts.

Thoughts on having been with Jamshedpur FC since their inception.

Jamshedpur FC are only two years old but my relationship with this place goes all the way back to the beginning of my footballing career. I was a student of the Tata Football Academy (TFA) and a graduate of the same. Whatever I am today, is because of TFA. You could say this place is like home for me because I was in Jamshedpur for a lot of years. So the sentiment is strong for me. Now, having joined Jamshedpur FC, I can finally give back to this city. The atmosphere, the professional attitude and the facilities we have are very good. We have three fields of our own. We have a gym, a swimming pool and even our own housing complex. We all stay there like a family. Everyone has a lot of fun and our relationship with the management and with the coaches is very good. The ball is yet to drop on our results this season. We are trying our best to qualify for the semi-finals.

Are you excited to be playing at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan?

Something I have inculcated in my professional career is that I don't let sentiment get in the way of what I do. It doesn't matter if I am from Bengal or not. What does matter to me is where I play now. That is my home. My parents and family stay here. This is where I was born and raised but when it comes to professionalism and my footballing career, everything is equal to me. Jamshedpur is my home now. I said it before, Jamshedpur holds a big place in my life, firstly because of TFA. So, all these places are equal to me. When I take the field as a Jamshedpur FC player, it doesn't matter if the opposition is ATK or Mumbai City FC. It doesn't matter if it is Bengaluru FC or Chennaiyin FC. They're all the same to me. There is no separate feeling for any particular place or team. As a professional footballer, I can only say 'give your best' irrespective of where you are playing.

Can you keep another clean sheet in Kolkata like you did last season?

Whatever has happened is past. Whatever will happen is yet to come. I am not someone who lives in the past or the future. I prefer to live in the present. If I fixate on something like this, it might affect the result on the pitch. So I never look back at what I have done. I only focus on the task ahead and how to get about doing it. If the coach plays me against ATK, then I have to perform well and help the team win. That is my main concern. What is my job? My job is to do whatever the coach asks me to do. Follow his instructions and try to do it right. The result is not in our hands. We will give our 100%. The rest is up to God.

How confident are you about Jamshedpur FC reaching the semi-finals?

Actually, I don't pay a lot of attention to the league table and standings. My focus is solely on the next match against ATK. That is my main concern. After that, it will be the next team. I like taking things match-by-match. So thinking that far ahead isn't for me and I don't do it. I prefer living in the present. Everything is dependent on the performance that we put in as a team against ATK in the next match and the result we get. Hopefully, we will perform well and give our collective best on the field and then see what happens.

Read the match preview here.

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