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Westwood: East Bengal is surely a contender for the title.

Ashley Westwood critical of East Bengal players going to ground

Westwood: East Bengal is surely a contender for the title.

Peter Rodrigues

The Englishman chose not use the condition of the pitch as an excuse as his side suffered their first defeat…

Bengaluru FC coach Ashley Westwood acknowledged that his side struggled to adapt to the marshy conditions at the Kalyani Stadium having played all their games on an artificial turf. 

"It was tough for us to adapt to the ground since we have till now played only on artificial turf. We aren’t going to use the condition of the pitch as an excuse. Even East Bengal played on the same pitch. Credit to East Bengal. But I would also like to give credit to my side. We kept asking questions in the second half but it just wasn’t meant to be,” he explained.

Bengaluru had a couple of opportunities in the first half as Sean Rooney got into a one-on-one with the goalkeeper after being played through by Siam Hangal. The youngster himself had a chance to score but saw his shot sail above the crossbar.

"We got a number of opportunities but failed to convert. We had two good chances in the first half, with Rooney going on to a one-on-one position as well,” he mentioned.

However Westwood wasn’t pleased with the number of East Bengal players going to ground in the second half after having taken the lead through an own goal from Robin Singh.

“We conceded an unfortunate goal and then a number of East Bengal players were down with cramps. This is not something I coach or I encourage,” he opined.

"I am happy with the way boys performed. They kept going, kept asking questions, kept knocking at the door. You can't expect Rooney to score in every match. He has scored 5 in six matches till now and that's a good return for any striker,” he added.

He stated that the Red and Gold have the depth in squad to challenge for the league title.

"East Bengal is surely a contender for the title. They have the depth and the strength in squad. I will be very surprised if they finish out of the top four,” he concluded.

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