Habas: ATK Mohun Bagan had to squeeze out the win against Odisha

ATK Mohun Bagan beat Odisha FC through a stoppage-time winner from Roy Krishna to pick up their third win of the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) in as many matches. At the Fatorda Stadium on Thursday, both teams looked all set to share the points when Krishna’s goal deep into stoppage time stunned Stuart Baxter’s team. However, ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Antonio Lopez Habas, despite a favourable result, wasn’t entirely satisfied with his team’s performance on the night.

“It was not the best match for ATK Mohun Bagan. We had to squeeze out this result for ourselves,” Habas said in the post-match press conference.

When asked if Baxter did succeed in finding a way to restrain ATK Mohun Bagan who are renowned for their counter-attacking prowess, Habas said: “I think this is not true because most teams in leagues across the world use counter-attacks. I do not like playing positional football because then the ball is mostly on our side of the pitch. I believe that the ball should be in the opponents’ side of the pitch.”

ATK Mohun Bagan are the only team this season who have won all their matches so far and look like the team to beat as of now. Though Habas evaded a query in relation to his team being a title-contender this season. “I am very happy but we might not be playing the best football. However, it’s better to consolidate with three victories than lose. I am only thinking about the improvements that we have to make,” he said.

Meanwhile, Odisha head coach Baxter was a disappointed man after their solid performance for the large part of the game got undone in the dying minutes, leading to their second defeat in three games.   

“It would have been unlucky if we continued playing the way we were and then we lost the match, but we didn't. We started making decisions on the field that made it difficult when we lost the ball and tried to defend the spaces around the defenders. We gave up too many set-plays and transitions.

“But we were also a threat. We kept them out of our final third long enough. We’re not unlucky when we make the silly decisions that we made. If you give up set-plays in the last few minutes of the game, you can get hit by your opponents, so that is something we have to learn,” he said.

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