The Kolkata outfit is being regarded as one best squads in the league ahead of the beginning of ISL 2019-20 season.
After a busy summer transfer window, ATK have revamped their squad after the disappointment in the last ISL season. While they have got a bunch of new overseas players, forwards Roy Krishna and David Williams are arguably the standout signings this campaign for the Red and Whites.
Ahead of the ISL 2019/20 season opener against Kerala Blasters, David Williams spoke about his expectations with ATK and what brought him to India.
“We would like to take every match as it comes, as every opponent is different. Our target is to at least make it to the finals and then be the first team to win three ISL titles,” David Williams said.
“I don’t like losing and I think the players we have are winners as well. We fight on the training pitch for all the right reasons. I did not watch much of the last two seasons, but I don’t feel there is any need to. I will give my best and share my experience with the younger players. We have our focus on the match this Sunday,” he added.
Decision To Join ATK
The Australian forward was asked whether his teammate Roy Krishna had any influence on his decision to come to India and join ATK. The duo played together at Wellington Phoenix last season, becoming arguably the best forward duo in the A-league.
“It is hard to say because I don’t know the conversations he had with the club. We are good friends anyway and I liked the club and thought it would be good if we both are together,” David Williams revealed.
“The young players look up to Roy and not only here, but in Australian standards as well. He scored too many goals. We work good together. I may not have scored as many as him, but we understand each other. We both are in great shape and also in our career prime. You often see players come here in their late 30s, but that is not the case with us,” the 31-year-old opined.
Thoughts On Indian Football Team
The Australian was present during Indian football team’s 1-1 draw against Bangladesh on October 15 at the Salt Lake Stadium. Sharing his experience regarding the game, Williams said, “I think the fans were great. The experience, the crowd were amazing. Unfortunately, the national team could not win and it ended in only 1-1.”
“But, I promise, with ATK, the people of Kolkata will get to see lot of goals this season,” Williams further added.
The former Australia international had only good things to say about his head coach Antonio Lopez Habas, other coaching staff and teammates.
Thoughts On Antonio Lopez Habas
“The coach is very friendly and it is easy to interact. He says something, we follow and it is the same with all the coaches. We worked hard in the training with the coaching staff. We work in good preparation. Everyone is fresh and fit and looking ahead for the upcoming season.”
Experienced Indian players like Pritam Kotal and Pronay Halder were also present at the media interaction. Being local players, both are looking to take these early matches in the ISL very seriously, considering their inability to break into the national starting XI.
Pronay Halder & Pritam Kotal
” I was injured, but now I am fit to play and if I perform well for ATK in ISL then I may get a call-up from Igor Stimac. These matches against Afghanistan and Oman are very vital and if I get a look in, then I will put my best foot forward. Till then, I want to use these matches as a motivation factor to get back into the national team,” said Pronay Halder.
Kotal reiterated the same feeling as of Halder, as he feels that playing well for ATK matters the most currently. “These games are priceless. But, to be honest I am not thinking that whether I am playing or not. My main focus is in ISL now. We have to win and if I play well I will be selected in the first XI in future matches.”
Both Pritam Kotal and Pronay Halder feel that a packed stadium and expectations from fans motivate them and allow them to push harder.
“No, I don’t think there is any pressure. I have won a championship with the team here earlier. I am from Kolkata, so I like to play here, I love the fans here and I feel I can bring joy to their faces this season,” Pritam stated.
Midfielder Pronay Halder had similar thoughts as he concluded, “I share my feelings with Pritam and I like to play under pressure. Whenever the stadium is full, I feel more motivated to play well and prove myself.”