Chennaiyin FC have strong midfielders and are good on transitions: ATK Mohun Bagan’s Juan Ferrando

ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando is pleased with his players’ performances over the past few games and has urged them to bag the three points in the next game, as his side locks horns with Chennaiyin FC in Match 105 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season at the PJN Stadium in Margao, Goa on Thursday evening.

Ferrando’s men have the opportunity to book their semi-final berth if they secure a win against the Marina Machans on Thursday. The Spaniard also praised Chennaiyin FC's midfield,and felt they could be a threat on transitions.

Ahead of his side’s battle against Chennaiyin FC, Ferrando addressed the media during the official pre-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from the coach’s press conference:

Last night we saw Jamshedpur FC winning their match against Hyderabad FC by a big margin. How optimistic are you after this to finish on top of the table?

I think the most important thing is to win on Thursday against Chennaiyin and to get the three points because it’s unnecessary to talk about Monday’s game against Jamshedpur right now.

Do you think defeating Jamshedpur FC by two or more goals margin will be a huge challenge for you in the last game?

Yes, but to be honest, when we try to win the games, I’m never thinking about winning by 1-0, for me it’s important to get two or three goals. Our aim is to play attack, and the challenge against Jamshedpur is the same, in case we try to win 3-0 or more, it’s possible. But I repeat again, firstly the three points against Chennaiyin.

Towards the end, we prepare our plan, and Jamshedpur also need to play against Odisha. I understand and know all the teams are professionals. All teams try to do their best in these last games, and all the players know they have the last opportunity.

Sandesh Jhingan won the Hero of the Match in the last outing. How happy are you with his performance and his partnership with Tiri?

I’m happy with all the players, they stood up like a proper unit. If we are talking about Sandy [Jhingan], I’m happy about his performance, but I know he can improve more. In my point of view, the level of Sandy is 60%, it can go to 100% in the AFC Cup and in the future too because I’m sure he wants to work on himself, he wants to improve, and this is the most important thing.

What do you think are the strong points of Chennaiyin FC?

With Chennaiyin, the midfielders are very strong and are hard-working, the likes of Thapa [Anirudh], Koman [Vladimir] because they are very strong players in some moments of the game. Also, everybody knows about Valskis [Nerijus], maybe this season was not the best for him but he’s a dangerous player in and around the box. In the last three games, he’s been closer to the box than in the last month. He knows the best position for him.

It’s also necessary to talk about the defence of Chennaiyin, it’s a good and controlled team. The players close down the spaces and drop deep to take the ball and transition. In this case, they are incredibly good.

Do you plan to go on an all-out attack against Chennaiyin FC?

Of course, it is a plan. All the games come with a plan. We have prepared one plan, but we will see on Thursday whether we have success on it.

What are your observations regarding the performances by Liston Colaco and Joni Kauko?

About Joni, it’s not so necessary to talk, everybody knows his game and agrees he does his job perfectly. Like a number 10, it’s not only about the goals, but also about the timing of the passes, the control of the ball, to help the team with the press, to help the team to try and keep the ball, amazing. I’m very happy with him.

With Liston, of course, he is continuously improving some details in his game because sometimes he decides on controlling in some spaces, but it’s normal. I hope after more training sessions, he can improve.

Earlier in the season, you were not seen celebrating goals in the touchline, but we are now enjoying your celebration. What are your thoughts on that?

I’m happy, for example, you know like the goal against Kerala, I’m very happy with Willy [David Williams] because the players recognize about the zones when it’s the time to attack the free space, when it’s the right time to take the shot, I’m happy when they are aware of this. For example, the goal of Liston against Bengaluru, it’s a perfect case in this case.

But I’m pleased when they know when it’s the time to win the ball and attack the space, when it’s number 9 beside the ball and sees the space opening behind the centre-backs. When they find these moments, I’m happy, and this is the recent case when I enjoy these goals because you can actually celebrate those unlike own goals.

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