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John Johnson expected to take ATK to victory against Bengaluru FC

A rock at the back for Bengaluru FC all these years, ATK will now bank on defender John Johnson's insights when they take on last year's runners-up, coach Steve Coppell said Tuesday.

Englishman Johnson was a regular feature for Bengaluru since the club's inception in 2013.

The English defender will be now be donning ATK colours.

"He has given us insights into what Bengaluru FC do game by game, their match preparation and the things they try to do," Coppell said on the eve of their match against BFC at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan here.

ATK is yet to notch up a win against BFC and have not even scored a goal against the Blues.

"They do not have a great deal of change in personnel, the style of play is very much same. Hopefully, we will try to counter them. He's (Johnson) been very important the last couple of days."

The two-time I-League champions Bengaluru had a stupendous run after their foray into the lucrative league last season but only to be pipped by Chennaiyin in the final.

"They are the yardstick. They have one of the best teams of the league. We are excited to play against them. We have a healthy respect for them. First and foremost, we look at ourselves, and if we play well we can win the game.

"We don't lose sleep over our opposition. The emphasis is on us and not on the opposition," the veteran Englishman said.

ATK lost their opening two matches but bounced back with two wins and a draw.

In their last match, ATK upset defending champions Chennaiyin FC 2-1.

"I don't think one win at home is momentum. It is difficult to win at home. It will be great to start momentum by winning again. The crowd turned up well in the last match. We hope we could repay them with another win," Coppell said.

"Every game is demanding. It's a short league but a long season. There are so many factors which can affect your performance. We feel we are at the front-foot at the moment. Every match trying to get better by better this season," he said.

Bengaluru FC coach Carles Cuadrat said they don't like to be called favourites to win the title.

"I don't feel like we are favourites to win the trophy. I feel we have to fight very hard to get to the playoffs. Last season you saw, at the end we had nothing. It's an open competition. No favourites for me at the moment," the Spaniard said.

(With inputs from agencies.)



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