Habas wary of Mumbai City’s counter-attacking threat

ATK will be out to preserve their 100% win record at home in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 when they welcome Mumbai City FC to the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday. The Islanders, however, represent a stern challenge for Antonio Lopez Habas’ men, given their proficiency at playing counter-attacking football.

Highlighting the point, ATK head coach Antonio Lopez Habas, at the pre-match press conference, opined, “Mumbai City are a very difficult team to play against. They are terrific in counter attacks. It’s going to be a difficult match for us.”

“The target for the match obviously is to go out there and win but the opponents will have the same idea. This is football. As long as we play a good match, I will be happy,” he added.

Mumbai boss Jorge Costa, at his pre-match briefing, tagged ATK as possibly the strongest team in the competition this season. Habas, however, decided not to engage with the comment and stated, “I don’t want to concentrate on that. The only thing important for me is to make sure my team plays at a higher level and guarantees maximum performance.”

ATK were somewhat lackluster in their last outing against Odisha FC and only managed a goalless draw. Quizzed about the performance on the night, Habas reflected, “Every match is different. Odisha are a good team and they played good football. Maybe we lacked intensity for 90 minutes. It’s not possible to win every match. If you can’t win, it’s important you don’t lose.”

Both Roy Krishna and David Williams have been in terrific form for ATK, registering three goals each so far in the competition. Asked how important the duo is for the side, the Spaniard remarked, “Both Roy and David are important players for us, but just as important as any other player in the squad. I never concentrate on individuals.”

Mumbai, on the other hand, have looked shaky at the back, conceding 10 goals in five matches. Asked how he plans on capitalizing on their opponent’s apparent weakness, the Spanish head coach noted, “Any team can have problems. Mumbai have their own problems, ATK have their own problems. If I see a problem in their defence, I will tell that to my players.”

Accompanying Habas to the briefing was defender Anas Edathodika. Speaking on how he has been settling in his new team, the India international revealed, “The team has bonded well. The foreigners and Indians have gotten along very well.”

“There are no big or small teams in the Hero ISL. Every team goes out there to win the three points. I have confidence in my team. If we continue playing like this, we will succeed. I am focused on the next match. It’s important for the team and we want to do well,” he added, speaking about the challenge at hand.

Read the Match Preview here.

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