FC Goa play as a team and that’s their biggest strength: ATK Mohun Bagan’s Juan Ferrando

ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando feels every game is now like a final for his team as they chase top spot in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL). The Mariners face FC Goa on Tuesday as they look to move level on points with league leaders Hyderabad FC at the summit.

The Gaurs went down 1-2 to ATK Mohun Bagan in the reverse game but come into the match on the back of a 5-0 win over Chennaiyin FC.

Also read: Match 92 Preview: Facing a do-or-die situation, upbeat FC Goa take on summit-chasing ATK Mohun Bagan

Ferrando felt his former side have the quality to compete at the top in the Hero ISL and sees them as difficult opponents as they play as one single unit.

The Spaniard spoke to the media ahead of his second reunion with his former employers.

Here are the excerpts from his pre-match press conference:

FC Goa are coming into the match on the back of a 5-0 win. What are the things that your team should be aware of?

The performance of FC Goa is good. They have a great squad, they have good players. The other night (against Chennaiyin FC) their performance was top. Normally, they have a chance to be in the top four positions, they are always fighting. They are in a good moment right now. I heard that the players are focussed and happy. But for us it's about focusing on our players and our performance.

The reverse match between ATK Mohun Bagan and FC Goa was a close one. Are you expecting a similar match?

I think the match now is different as the process is not the same for all the clubs. Some clubs had problems with quarantine, positive Covid-19 cases, separate groups of positive and negative cases in training. In all clubs the situation is difficult. It's not possible to improve day by day or training session by training session or game by game. Every team makes the team depending on the available players but it's the same for all the teams. So this game against FC Goa on Tuesday will be different from the last meeting.

Who do you think is FC Goa's most dangerous player?

To be honest, for me FC Goa's strong point is their team. Maybe, you can talk about some dangerous players in the FC Goa team but their strength is their mentality and they work like a team and that makes it more difficult for everyone.

How impressed are you with the young players stepping up in absence of key players who got injured in the last match?

I always say that we have one squad and I prepare all the players to be ready. I am not thinking about the age of the players. For me, it's about helping everyone and everybody here is happy to help the team. Of course, some details about experience are important but I'm happy because they want to learn and this is the most important thing. It's not important to think about the age of the players but think about the mentality of the players.

In the next 20 days, your team plays six matches. How difficult is it to cope with a less recovery period?

It's difficult because there are injuries. Secondly, it's difficult to have a full process to prepare for a game because in two days it's very difficult. You can't change a lot and there is not enough time to prepare a totally different plan. In the end, it comes down to the players' mentality. Players need 2-3 days to recover and the problem is that when you don't have enough time, the focus is not the same, there are technical mistakes, there are problems tactically too because the players are not fresh. It's very difficult.

Liston Colaco is the leading Indian goalscorer. According to you, what does his future look like?

I think we are trying to improve him even further. Sometimes, players think too much about the success they get but for me it's important to think about how he can improve. As a club and as a coaching staff this is our target. He knows that. His performances have been much better with every game.

You have adopted a new formation where you are scoring a lot of goals but you are failing to keep a clean sheet. Is this a plan to go all out attack?

My plan is to win the games. Of course, everyone likes 3-0, 4-0 or 5-0 and it's a dream for everyone. But this is not the reality. If you watch the Premier League, Bundesliga or La Liga you will find a few 2-0s or 3-0s but normally it's 2-1 or 3-1. The quality of players here in all the teams is the same. The quality of the coaching staff is the same. The squads more or less are good. Of course, 3-4 teams have two or three players more than the rest of the teams but the ISL for me is good when there are 6-7 teams fighting for the semi-final spots.

Your team is getting a lot of chances but it's not converting them. What do you think you should do to improve on this front in this crucial period?

To be honest, I am not too worried about this. For me, as a coach, it would be a problem if we are not creating chances. Of course, we need to improve our focus, check the timing when we shoot, and assess the goalkeeper better. There are so many details. You can improve these details in training. The problem is we have no training sessions so it's not possible to improve this. But for me, I am looking at the shots on target and in the last few matches we have done well in that aspect.

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