After a fine individual campaign, Manvir eyes Hero ISL title with ATK Mohun Bagan

Manvir Singh netted what turned out to be the winning goal during ATK Mohun Bagan’s second leg semi-final win over NorthEast United FC to seal their spot in the final of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21. The Mariners were 2-1 winners on the night and won the tie 3-2 on aggregate to set up a clash with Mumbai City FC in the final. Saturday’s grand finale promises to be a blockbuster conclusion to an exhilarating season, and you can rest assured that Manvir will have a huge role to play in it.

After moving from FC Goa to ATK Mohun Bagan ahead of Hero ISL 2020-21, Manvir seems to have taken his game to another level. The Indian national team has long yearned for impact strikers beyond Sunil Chhetri and in Manvir seem to have found someone that can shoulder the goal-scoring burden. Only Chhetri (8) has scored more than Manvir’s six goals among Indian players.

Manvir, in fact, has proven to be much more than just a goal-scorer this season. He has shown courage and tenacity to take on players and beat them with his quick burst of pace. That aside, the 25-year-old has upped his link-up play and ability to retain possession besides also picking out defence-splitting passes as his three assists in the ongoing campaign demonstrates.

A lot of his good form can be attributed to the amount of game-time he’s been given this season. The 25-year-old has started more matches under Antonio Lopez Habas for ATK Mohun Bagan (15) in the ongoing campaign than he had in his past three seasons with FC Goa (7). The Indian international shared his thoughts on his form in a chat with and admitted that a strong pre-season set him up nicely to perform to his best.

“This season is the best season for me. I have scored goals and have assisted also. The pre-season at Minerva Punjab (now RoundGlass Punjab) helped me a lot this season. I am giving my 100% in every training session and it shows in the match,” he had said ahead of ATK Mohun Bagan’s semi-final clash against NorthEast United FC.

Despite making 47 appearances for FC Goa over the past three seasons, Manvir started in just seven of those games and was used mostly as an impact substitute. He scored after coming off the bench for the Gaurs more than once but always wanted more time on pitch, which is something that Habas has managed to offer him at ATK Mohun Bagan.

“For me, he is the best coach. His plans are perfect. He knows when to attack and how to defend. He knows how to make the players who are not playing or on the bench happy. I think he is the best coach,” Manvir opined.

Playing alongside forwards of the quality that ATK Mohun Bagan boast has also been beneficial to Manvir’s development and he reveled how the Mariners’ attacking players like to work as a unit. “We work a lot in the training. Roy [Krishna], [David] Williams and me, whoever is in the attacking unit, we work together on our attacking,” he said.

Looking ahead, Manvir and his teammates will want to cap off a fine season with some silverware. They have already endured the agony of missing out on the League Winners Shield to Mumbai City FC but will be eager to make amends against the same opponents on Saturday. Having lost twice to Sergio Lobera’s Islanders this season and played under the Spaniard himself during his time at FC Goa, Manvir will know what to expect. However, both he and ATK Mohun Bagan will be aiming for a better result and hope that it’s third time lucky as far as clashes against Mumbai City FC go.

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