Antonio Habas: Happy with performance and discipline of the team

ATK FC climbed back to the summit of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 table with a 2-0 win over Mumbai City FC at the Mumbai Football Arena on Saturday. The away side went two goals up in the first half itself, courtesy Pronay Halder and Michael Soosairaj, and then weathered an onslaught from the Islanders in the second 45 minutes to secure the victory.

At the post-match press conference, ATK head coach Antonio Lopez Habas summarised the game from an ATK perspective and said, “I think we had a good first half. We dominated the match, scored twice and could have scored two more. In the second half, we had to change players because of injuries (to Pronay and later David Williams). We had to change the system. We also had a new defender (Victor Mongil) who was playing his first match tonight. I am happy with the performance and discipline, but I will admit Mumbai had opportunities to score goals in the second 45 minutes, but we created chances as well.”

“Our idea for today was to play on counter attacks because Mumbai can play good long balls and we had to control the situation,” he added.

Asked if he thought his defence was under too much pressure in the second half, the Spaniard opined, “We played a fantastic match defensively considering the situation. The opponent did have chances, but my defensive line played well today.”

Habas, who generally prefers a three-man defence and two wing backs, started with four at the back against the Islanders. Explaining his decision, Habas noted, “We have the capacity to change the system during the match because the team is accustomed to a mode of play and the concept is similar for all systems. For today, I thought the best way to approach the game against Mumbai was this.”

Eighteen-year-old centre back Sumit Rathi had a solid outing and won the Hero of the Match award for his performance at the back for ATK. Heaping praise on the youngster, Habas stated, “I think that Sumit has a fantastic future. He has the personality, he is very good technically, physically also he is improving every day. I have confidence in him and he will become an important part of the Indian team, I think.”

Giving his opinion on new signing Mongil, the 62-year-old said, “I am very happy with him. He is an intelligent player. It is not easy to come from Spain and play a match like this within a week. I know the player. John Johnson had an injury and we had the possibility to get a replacement and we did.”

Read the Match Report here.

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