Habas: The team has done well but I need more from my players

ATK face NorthEast United FC in a tough away fixture in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Saturday. The Kolkata-based side will be looking to end the Highlanders’ unbeaten run this season but will have to be wary of NorthEast’s attacking threat spearheaded by Ghanaian legend Asamoah Gyan.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference, ATK head coach Antonio Lopez Habas looked back at the team’s performances so far and said, “First part of the league has been successful for us. I think the conclusion will be good for us. The position we are in will be good for us in the long run. But now that we are in a good position, we need to give more. I want to say that the team is okay because their position in the league is good, but we need more.”

“All matches are tough. The last 15 minutes in a match is very important in this league. The main reason for this is that all teams are very polished. There is nothing much to improve. We are the joint-best team (with Goa) in terms of goal count. The team has a good balance, is good, but we want to be better. We need more from the players if my team has to be close to the idea that I have for it in my head,” stated the Spaniard on being asked about his aspirations for the season.

Following the return of Habas, ATK seem to be a rejuvenated side after two poor seasons. Talking about the team’s top four prospects this term, the head coach said, “We have to do a complete analysis because the team did not do very well in the last two seasons. So, we have to go step by step. The upcoming game is against another very competitive team. They are also in the top half of the league. We want the best; we want to win the league. The immediate target is to win every match and keep the team in the best position in the league. For that we have to go step by step.”

Gyan is expected to spearhead the NorthEast forward line come Saturday. Asked how he plans to handle the threat posed by the Ghanaian legend, Habas responded, “Asamoah Gyan is a good player. He played in three World Cups. He is a fantastic player. He is a very important player for NorthEast and we have to have control over him.”

Joining the 62-year-old head coach was ATK’s custodian Arindam Bhattacharja, who believes his team has improved from last season. “I think we are much more compact than last year. This shows in the league table. We are second, having played a match lesser. There are many good individual players as well as the players from last season who are playing very well.”

“We have three consecutive away matches. But I personally feel that there is no such difference between home and away matches in the Hero ISL. We need to win all three matches, and that is our target. It will be difficult, but the team has been playing well and we will take that positivity into the next few matches,” he added on the upcoming challenges.

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