Juan Ferrando, the mastermind in ATK Mohun Bagan’s comeback

Everyone was shocked when Juan Ferrando left FC Goa and joined ATK Mohun Bagan in the middle of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season. In the previous campaign, the Spaniard took the Gaurs to the semifinals of the Hero ISL and finished third in FC Goa’s first-ever AFC Champions League campaign.

But a new season brought more challenges. He failed to live up to the expectations that he had set at FC Goa in 2020-21. The Gaurs found themselves 8th in the table when Ferrando decided to join the Mariners, who hadn’t set the Hero ISL ablaze either.

Thus, the question on most people’s minds revolved around whether the Spaniard was the right appointment for the 2020-21 finalists. So far, Ferrando has proved his mettle, and couldn’t have adapted to life at his new club better.

ATK Mohun Bagan are unbeaten in their previous six matches and have 12 points over that period. They are on an eight-match unbeaten streak, which is the longest in their Hero ISL history. This resurgence in form has also taken the Kolkata-based team to seventh in the league table.

Ferrando’s ATK Mohun Bagan are playing some of the best attacking football in the league too. They have attempted 12 or more shots in five of their last six games - a feat that was only achieved twice this season under Antonio Habas. His possession-based style has seen an increase in the chances created as well, with 10 of their last 11 goals coming from open play.

Their recent goal against Mumbai City FC showcased how far this team has come under the 41-year-old’s leadership. ATKMB players pressed the Islanders in their own defensive third and forced an error from Ahmed Jahouh which was pounced upon by David Williams. The Australian rifled the ball into the bottom corner and made the net bulge inside five minutes.

Also read: Mumbai City FC, ATK Mohun Bagan miss chance to enter top four after a closely-fought draw

With the battle for the semifinal spots heating up, it seems that the Spaniard was appointed at the perfect time, as far as the Mariners are concerned. And, if the upward trajectory continues in the games that remain, it might prove to be as pivotal a decision as any the club has made this campaign.

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