Antonio Habas: We have to be positive from the first minute
Having lost the first leg of their Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 semi-final clash against Bengaluru FC 1-0 at the Sree Kanteerava, ATK FC will be out to overcome the deficit in the second leg at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Sunday. With the scale tipped ever so slightly in the defending champions' favour, ATK need to be at their best to progress to the final.
At the pre-match press conference, ATK head coach Antonio Lopez Habas declared, “I only have one target, which is to win the match and be in the final. My duty, like it was throughout the season, is to prepare the team for the challenge. It is an important challenge for us. It is an important challenge for ATK. It is an important challenge for Kolkata. We are prepared.”
Summarizing the job required of the team, the Spaniard noted, “For Sunday, we are 1-0 down. It is a good score for Bengaluru. We have to try to get more goals than the opponent. It is simple. I think it is very important to score goals, but even more important to not concede. Semi-finals are different to the regular matches, because if you lose, you are eliminated. We need the support of the fans. We need the support of every institution in the club. We have to have confidence in the players.”
Asked about what kind of game he was expecting from the Blues, Habas answered, “We expect Bengaluru as Bengaluru is. They are a defensive team. Their defence has done well this season. If we score in the first minute, they cannot be defensive. We expect Bengaluru to be what they have been all season.”
The Spaniard concluded by urging his players to find the right balance between defence and attack on Sunday. “Both defensive lines are solid. We are talking about the two teams who have conceded the least goals in the league phase. We have to get the balance between defence and attack right. It will be an intense match. We have to be positive in every action of the match. This will be the idea from the first minute,” he said.
Forward David Williams and goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharja were also at the media briefing alongside Habas. Williams was the first to speak, stating, “We want to win the match. We are full of confidence. We had a good game last week. I thought we played very good football. We put pressure on them. I didn’t have a feeling of a loss last week as a player. We gave everything.”
“They are a well-structured team. They have a lot of discipline and they have worked together for the last few years. So, credit to them for that (not letting ATK score in the last match). That’s why they have been so hard to play against in the last few years,” shared the Australian when asked about his thoughts on Bengaluru.
“We have confidence. We are disappointed that we are 1-0 down, but we are still confident. I would say it will be an exciting game. In a situation like this, the best team has to win. If it’s not us, it’s not us. We have to accept that, but we will give everything,” finished Williams.
“We will try and score an early goal. We will also work together to keep things tight at the back. That is our plan and that is what we have been training for,” said Arindam.
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