Habas urges his players to build a connection with home fans
Antonio Lopez Habas’ ATK will have their eyes firmly fixed on a third win on a trot when they host Jamshedpur FC at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Saturday. After the opening day loss to Kerala Blasters, the former champions found their form to beat Hyderabad FC and Chennaiyin FC in their subsequent two fixtures. However, doing the same against Jamshedpur will hardly be a straightforward task, considering they are yet to face defeat in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20.
“We have to respect every team. We have the maximum respect for the opponent, for their technical staff and their players. We have to compete 11v11 on the pitch. I think they are a good team. They have a good coach as well,” said Habas at his pre-match press conference held a day prior to the fixture.
Jamshedpur goalkeeper Subrata Paul had a stunning game against Bengaluru, as he kept out the defending champions time and again to keep his team in the contest and earn a point. However, Habas wasn’t keen on focusing on just a single player, and stated, “I saw all matches in the Hero ISL. I don’t want to choose one player over others. We have to play against Jamshedpur and not against only their goalkeeper. This is my idea.”
The 62-year-old ATK head coach also admitted that his team needs to improve on their set-piece executions. “Yes, we have to improve. This is our idea. It’s very important in a set-piece where the player shoots. Sometimes, we can only see the finish of the move, but it’s important to know where they are shooting at. We are working on that,” he said.
Speaking about the importance of drawing motivation from the home fans, Habas opined, “The idea is to give the better performance in every match. We have to win, we have to compete. We have to create a good atmosphere with our fans. It’s very important. I think the players need to have it in their minds that it is very important to connect with the fans from the first minute of the match.”
Finally, the ATK boss shared his views on whether or not Jobby Justin, who was also in attendance at the media briefing, will be in his starting 11 for the Jamshedpur tie. “We have an idea of the match. We have plan A and plan B. I don’t want to say anything about this (will Jobby start). I don’t want to say anything now about the first 11 for the match.”
Jobby, meanwhile, was committed to helping the team in whichever way possible and said, “For me, my aim is to be in the 11 and to start games. As a professional player, I have a good coach and he has built a good strategy. He tries to play me in every position. Wherever the team needs me, I need to be there. So, I am waiting for a chance.”
Read the Match Preview here.