ISL 2022-23: Juan Ferrando, the head coach of ATK Mohun Bagan, was upbeat before his club’s Indian Super League (ISL) encounter against Mumbai City FC on Sunday in Mumbai. He challenged his players to earn all three points from what he considered a difficult away game. However, the Spaniard feels that he has the strongest group of players at his disposal, and if they execute his strategy to the fullest extent, they will triumph even over opponents like Mumbai City FC.
Prior to the match against Mumbai City FC, Ferrando and forward Manvir Singh spoke at the pre-match press conference. The quotes are as follows: ATK Mohun Bagan had won the Kolkata derby going into their game against Mumbai City FC. How would the strategy against Mumbai City FC change from that?
Ferrando: Since it’s a different team with a different style, the strategy will differ. They have a large number of talented players and have participated in the AFC Champions League. It’s a challenging game, especially since we’re playing away from home without our fans and they have a strong team. But we have a strategy, and we believe it will work.
The game following the Kolkata derby has always proven more difficult for Kolkata teams. How would you approach this issue? Ferrando: I believe it is crucial to be prepared for the upcoming game because the victory in the Kolkata derby is in the past and three points are at stake. It’s crucial for us to earn these three points since there are three to four teams competing at a high level, and if we want to take first place, we must win this match.
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Ferrando: Their spines are incredibly sturdy. They have excellent spatial control during the buildup. Bipin Singh and Lalianzuala Chhangte, two speedy players who make smart decisions in attack, are a very effective duo in these circumstances, so it’s crucial to keep them under control. Defense preparation for teams like these is challenging.
After the Kolkata Derby, you stated that your transitions needed work. Is your staff equipped to handle that? Ferrando: Sunday will reveal itself. Since we focus on these topics in every training session, I sincerely hope the team is prepared. As a coaching staff, our goal is to empower the team to take charge of transitions and establish good defensive positions. I’m hoping we perform consistently in games. As a team, our objective is to play well in every game. The team will undoubtedly vary as a result of injuries, suspensions, and players who may play in different positions, but we must make sure that our performance remains constant.
Mumbai City FC has never been defeated by ATK Mohun Bagan. Do you believe that this makes this game more difficult than the Kolkata derby? Ferrando: On Sunday, I hope we score three points. This is the goal. On Sunday, we shall observe what transpires. The statistics are sometimes outside of our control. The players find it challenging when we play away since it’s their first time playing in front of an audience in two years, so it’s crucial for us to maintain control of this circumstance.
Sunday’s game and opportunity are both new. I have faith in the squad and my team. Our focus is on scoring three points. However, it will be challenging to win the following game if we consider how we have performed against them in the past.
Do you have any specific ideas for the high-caliber assault of Mumbai City FC? Ferrando: I believe our team is the finest. We will succeed if we work as a team. Of course, we have a great deal of respect for Mumbai City FC since they have such talented players, but in my opinion, if we play to the best of our ability, we will prevail in the game.
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Ferrando: We started the season with several players who weren’t performing at their peak but who are now flourishing. In a season of 30 matches, it’s typical to have ten matches of exceptional play followed by 6-7 matches where your performance is below par. It is challenging to sustain the level of performance for the position that players like Liston and Manvir play because it depends on the team. Liston is not a concern of mine because he will benefit from everyone’s improvement. How did Dimitri Petratos perform, in your opinion?
Ferrando: He is certainly contributing significantly on the field, so we are pleased with him. He has a complete understanding of his position on the field. Since everyone is familiar with the idea, I am really pleased to see foreign players. Dimitri picked up on our ideas immediately, and he has excelled not only during games but also during training.
When you have players like him, it’s pretty simple for me because he controls the spaces and knows when to attack them. It’s incredible. Aside from his objectives, I adore the way he manages the press’s timing and space. He is a crucial member of this team, so I hope he keeps playing the same way.