Carles Cuadrat: We have a lot of respect for ATK

Defending champions, Bengaluru FC travel to face ATK FC in a heavyweight Christmas Day encounter at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Wednesday. The Blues go into the fixture just one point ahead of the former champions but could go a point clear at the top if they manage to get away from Kolkata with three points.

That will, however, be far from easier according to Bengaluru head coach, Carles Cuadrat. Speaking at his pre-match press conference, he said, “I have a lot of respect for ATK. It’s a club with a big history. They have two championships which means a lot in the league because it’s only in the sixth edition. So, if you have two trophies, it means you have been competing very well.”

“After some disappointments in the last two seasons, this season they have been a very good team with a lot of good foreigners and Indian players. They also have a coach who knows the country, the Hero ISL and has been a champion of the league before.”

“I am also a champion of the Hero ISL. So, I know the hard work that you have to do. So, I have a lot of respect for Antonio Lopez Habas. I think that the club are working hard to again be fighting for the title. They are also getting a lot of people in the stadium this season,” he further added.

Bengaluru have never lost to ATK since their inception, but the 51-year-old felt that records weren’t going to matter too much in the match. “We want to win every game against every team. So, there is nothing special about ATK. I always say that numbers are only numbers. One day you break the numbers. We had a wonderful record at home, not losing for almost two years, but on the day we could have gone two years unbeaten, we lost the game. So, it’s numbers. I put attention to prepare my team and try to go for the victory,” he told the media.

Lastly, the Spaniard revealed that he had a plan in place for ATK duo, Roy Krishna and David Williams. “We have a plan for the game and we will try to get them under control because it’s true that they are two very dangerous players. I think it was very clever from ATK to bring players that were playing together because when you play together, you get a lot of mechanics in the movements and the interactions. Mandi (Armando Sosa Pena) also was playing with them. So, three players who know each other very well. So, congratulations to ATK for that decision,” he maintained.

Eugeneson Lyngdoh had attended the media briefing along with Cuadrat, and the midfielder expressed his side’s desire to build on their recent win over NorthEast United FC, “I was with ATK and I didn’t get to play much because of injury. With BFC, the moment I got back there, I felt at home. I was welcomed. It’s always a bit nice to go to a team where you feel happy. After the loss against Mumbai, we were a bit down. Against NorthEast, we came back and we are pumped up now. We are all hungry,” he said.

Read the Match Preview here.

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