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ISL 2017-18: ATK's Ashley Westwood - Nobody in and around the club is happy

18:29 GMT+3 23/02/2018
Ashley Westwood ATK Chennaiyin FC ISL 4 2017/2018
The defending ISL champions from Kolkata are aiming to restore lost pride in the upcoming Super Cup...
Two-time champions ATK's dismal season in the 2017-18 Indian Super League (ISL) sees them winless in their last six games. The Sourav Ganguly co-owned side now land in the capital in hopes of reversing the tide.

"I think the motivation is to try and improve. Obviously, what’s been happening around the football club in terms of results, we need to improve on. As professionals, as coaches, as players, as club, staff - you want to win football matches and to win you certainly have to improve a little bit. The best motivation for us is to finish as high as we can and try to get out of the bottom three," said Ashley Westwood on the eve of their game against ninth-placed Delhi Dynamos.

'Interim head coach' for the last five games after Teddy Sheringham's sacking, Westwood added, "You have a duty to yourself. You have a duty as a sports professional to put in the performances. If any of the players have aspirations of playing in the league next season, they will have to improve a little bit if they want to be signed by this club or other clubs. For me, that is your motivation."

With 13 points from 15 games, there is a very slim hope for the Sanjiv Goenka co-owned side to make it directly to the Super Cup as it seems most likely they will enter the playoffs to make it into the 16-team competition.

The former Bengaluru FC boss shared his thought on the new competition - "It's another football game, the position we are in and the position we have been all season, we plan to win everything. That’s what we need to do. Obviously, we haven’t got enough points so we don’t have the luxury to play for draws. We will try and win football matches and try and restore some pride by having a good run in the Cup. That is the minimum desire."

"We are not happy, the club expected top four. They (team owners) poured money to replicate the top four and that hasn’t happened, so nobody in and around the club is happy with the position. We have to do better. You know this club has won it twice and been in the semi-final once. We expect to be top four.

"The previous coach (Teddy Sheringham) was aware of the expectation. That’s what happens when you are in a big club, there is a guaranteed expectation. That’s the same across the world. If you are Manchester United, City, Chelsea or Arsenal, they expect top four and it’s the same with ATK. We are one of the bigger clubs, good fan base, good history and they expect top four. So at the moment, it's not good enough," the former Penang FA coach shared the mood of the team.

The 41-year-old gave an update on the injury list, "We always seem to have injuries. That is part and parcel of the game. We have one or two fresh ones, it is almost a foregone conclusion. Unfortunately, week after week we keep picking injuries up. We have 21 or 22 fit players and we have to try and do our best with what we have and get a result.

"We are waiting on a fitness test from Martin Paterson so he could be missing. Tom Thorpe is missing, Zequinha is also missing so that’s three foreigners out for me. We have three foreigners on the bench and five on the pitch and it has been very up and down in that regard all season," he concluded.