Beset by injuries, Habas expects a difficult game in Guwahati
Defending champions Atlético de Kolkata are looking to move on from their defeat against FC Pune City when they play NorthEast United FC at Guwahati’s Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium on Friday. Kolkata coach Antonio Lopez Habas, speaking to the media ahead of the game, made it clear they weren’t taking the home side lightly.
“I think we've a very difficult game tomorrow. We'll field our best 11 and give our best. The game is going to be very difficult,” Habas told reporters.
Habas also said although the team had a few injury concerns, picking a squad for Friday’s game won’t be an issue. “We've had some problems with injuries, but all the teams are suffering from it. As you know [Helder] Postiga is suffering from a serious injury, Baljit [Sahni] had an injury scare but now we think he's fine. We've suffered from injuries but picking a squad won't be a problem.”
ATK marquee player Postiga hasn’t played since the 2015 ISL opener against Chennaiyin FC where he scored two goals. Habas brought the media up to date on Postiga’s injury that has forced the striker to return to Portugal. “We are waiting for the reports from Portugal and maybe in a few days we will have a confirmation regarding the state of his [Postiga] injury.”
Another player who will be missed by ATK on Friday is Arata Izumi. Arata injured himself against FC Pune City and Habas said that affected his team’s performance. “The key problem was the absence of Arata [who was substituted in the second half]. He's a key player for us and because of his injury he is not travelling with the team. We also conceded in the very first minute [second minute] and that affected our game plan. But we need to overcome these difficulties…and I’m sure with hard work and proper planning we'd be able to do so.”
When asked to analyze NorthEast United’s challenge, Habas said, “I've managed teams in South America, the Bolivian national team and I know [Cesar] Farias’ work with Venezuela. I've two American Cups and two Copa Libertadores and I know how to play against different opponents.”