Ahead of AFC Cup campaign, ATK Mohun Bagan exude confidence

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Kolkata, Aug 14 (IANS) Top ATK Mohun Bagan striker David Williams from Australia is not getting bogged down by pressure and expectations ahead of his team’s campaign in the AFC Cup (Group D, South Zone) to be held in the Maldives from August 18 onwards.

Williams recently extended his contract with the Indian Super League (ISL) club and will now fly out to the Maldives later on Saturday along with his team-mates.

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“I like pressure and feel I can perform under it. But I am experienced and old enough to treat every game similarly so I’m not affected by the occasion,” Williams told ATK Mohun Bagan media.

ATK Mohun Bagan will meet the winners of the play-off match between ISL side Bengaluru FC and Club Eagles (Maldives) on August 18, followed by matches on August 21 (vs Maziya Sports and Recreation, Maldives) and August 24 (vs Bashundhara Kings, Bangladesh).

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“ATKMB can go very far in the AFC Cup. In this worldwide (pandemic) situation, I think football is based on mentality. We are all thrown into different situations because of COVID-19 and its restrictions and bubbles and rules and what not but ultimately, we have a job to do which is on the pitch and to play football for 90 minutes. This club is doing everything they can to make the best squad possible to be successful. I think we have a strong chance of progressing,” he added.

It will be the third ISL season for Williams under head coach Antonio Lopez Habas. Williams, who scored seven goals and provided five assists in ATK FC’s trophy win in 2019/20, believes having a coach like Habas is a must if a club wants to win silverware.

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“The coach is simple. He has high expectations so we need to deliver. If a coach doesn’t have these high expectations or pushes his player, then I can’t see a coach being successful anywhere,” he said.

“We have our way of playing and can adjust accordingly to other systems and what other teams are doing. We are in a rhythm with his training and his tactics and it’s working so we can’t have any complaints as players. The circuits from our fitness coach Alvaro are quality and help gain peak fitness levels,” he added.

ATKMB have been training in Kolkata for nearly two weeks now.

Hugo Boumous, one of the club’s seven new signings since the defeat in the ISL final against Mumbai City FC, was excited ahead of the AFC Cup games. “I am thrilled to think that I am going to play in an international tournament wearing the jersey of a traditional Indian club. …The first match is very important in any tournament. If we can win, it will be easy to move forward,” he said.



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