Antonio Lopez Habas aims to continue Hero ISL success with ATK Mohun Bagan
ATK Mohun Bagan are all set to make their Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) bow against Kerala Blasters FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Friday. Two-time Hero ISL winner Antonio Lopez Habas will be their head coach in the 2020-21 campaign and the Spaniard, who is the most successful coach in the history of the league, outlined his ambitions for the season ahead.
“I have the same ambition as always. I want my team to be competitive and continue being successful in the ISL and other competitions,” Habas said in a media interaction ahead of ATK Mohun Bagan’s clash against Kerala, which is also the season opener.
The Kolkata giants begin their campaign with high-voltage encounters against Kerala and then SC East Bengal in what will be the first Kolkata Derby in Hero ISL on November 27 but Habas isn’t too perturbed. “It is a competition and we have to play all the teams at some point in time. For me, there is no difference. It is the same,” he said.
The Spaniard then expressed his delight at the strength of his squad for the season and praised his players’ attitudes. “We have a very good squad. In this situation, it is very important to have a good squad. We need rotation in this season more than any other season. Roy [Krishna] and [David] Williams are as important as any other player in the team. I am very happy with the new additions. They all want to win. They have a good attitude,” Habas said.
While discussing new signing Sandesh Jhingan’s chances of starting the match against his former club after missing the entirety of last season due to injury, the 63-year-old said: “Sandesh [Jhingan] has the same chance to feature in the playing XI as any other players. He has not played for a long time and other players also haven't played for around six-seven months. The chances are equal.”
Even though ATK Mohun Bagan are considered one of the frontrunners for the title, Habas believes that the identity of the favourites to win the title will only get clearer towards the business end of the season. “I think we can call ourselves favourites in March-April. Right now, we have to take one game at a time and work hard in every match to get the three points,” the Spaniard said.
Habas also shared his thoughts on Kerala’s head coach Kibu Vicuna. “I think Kibu Vicuna did good work in Mohun Bagan AC [in the Hero I-League] last season. But this year it is a different competition and different season. I have the utmost respect for him but on Friday we will try to get three points because that’s what we work for every day,” he said.