Antonio Habas: Difficult for everybody when they play Mumbai

ATK FC’s first Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) tie of 2020 will be against Mumbai City FC at the Mumbai Football Arena on Saturday. The two-time champions had a productive first half of the season, accumulating 18 points from 10 matches. More of the same in the latter stages of the league will be on the agenda for ATK head coach Antonio Lopez Habas, who feels his side will have their work cut out against the Islanders.

While speaking at the pre-match press conference, he said, “Mumbai is a very dangerous opponent because they have a style of play. We have a big problem in defence because they have good strikers, good wingers and are also solid in defence. It is difficult against all teams in the league because they are dangerous in attack and hard in defence. But I think we will have our chances and we have to use them. I think that Mumbai is one of the more important teams in the league.”

Continuing on the same note, Habas added, “I think the result is possibly going to be decided only by a collective effort. It is very important to control the small details and the individual characteristics of the players. I think both teams have players with the possibility to break the balance between the match. We need to have maximum intensity, maximum concentration and maximum attitude in the match.”

The Spaniard also praised the qualities of ATK midfielder Jayesh Rane, while also extending his support to injured Mumbai City midfielder, Paulo Machado, Habas said, “Jayesh has the condition to play in the midfield. When you play in the flank, you need more speed. He is a good technical and tactical player and is good on the ball. Machado is also a fantastic player (for Mumbai). But we have to talk about the players who will be on the pitch and not the players who will be out. I wish that Machado recovers quickly because football needs good players.”

Jayesh had accompanied Habas at the pre-match gathering and he felt his side are in good shape compared to previous seasons, Rane said, “It’s the most balanced (team) because we are doing pretty well. I think the things that have changed is the mentality of the players, the coach and the attitude. He knows what he is doing. He gives us directions and we are going in the right direction. I enjoy playing football anywhere.”

“As the coach said, (Mumbai) have a very good attacking unit. Our attack too is one of the best in the league. If we do what we are doing, we can give a good fight to them and win the three points,” Rane later added.

Read the match preview here.

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