Antonio Habas: Want to face the best Bengaluru have to offer

ATK FC travel south to face off against defending champions Bengaluru FC in the first leg of their Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 semi-final clash at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday. ATK are unbeaten against the Blues so far this season, having won the league phase tie in Kolkata 1-0 and drawing the reverse leg 2-2 in Bengaluru. Antonio Lopez Habas' men will be eager to maintain the record in the crunch tie at hand.

At the pre-match press conference, ATK head coach Antonio Lopez Habas spoke about the upcoming challenge against Bengaluru and said, “We have to be at our 100% because Bengaluru are a competitive team. They were the last champions and are a solid team. I think it will be a competitive match. Bengaluru are a good team, professional and balanced. They are a very competitive team. We have to respect Bengaluru and after the semi-final, I don’t know who the new champion will be. But now, the champion is Bengaluru.”

Declaring that his players are ready for the challenge at hand, Habas remarked, “Bengaluru will be a tough challenge. I am prepared for the best Bengaluru team. This is my perception of the match against Bengaluru. I await the best possible Bengaluru. Both teams are competitive teams, organized teams, two teams who play football. The two teams have conceded least goals. I expect a tactical match. In my opinion, past scores won’t make a big difference for either team.”

Despite a slight dip in form towards the end of the league stage, Habas refused to see it as an area of concern and opined, “We had a very balanced trajectory. We only lost four matches. I think we were the team with most time spent at the first position on the table. The problem is that in the last matches Goa didn’t fail and we failed against Chennaiyin. For us, a new team, new players, new project, the balance of the team is perfect for us. Now we have to concentrate on the semi-finals.”

The Spaniard also had some warm words for Bengaluru skipper Sunil Chhetri. “Sunil Chhetri is a legend in Indian football. He is a good player. He is a leader not only of Bengaluru but of the national team,” Habas said.

The 62-year-old was joined by Javier Hernandez, who spoke about facing Bengaluru and noted, “Every game is different. Every match is difficult. So, that’s why we can lose some matches. Tactically, Bengaluru don’t concede too many goals. In this kind of game, in a semi-final (with away goals rule), it is very important to score when you play away. We will go to win and score goals as well.”

Read the Match Preview here.

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