Habas: We need to earn the support of the fans
ATK face newcomers Hyderabad FC in their first home match of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 season at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Friday. Having lost their opening fixture away to Kerala Blasters, ATK will look to turn things around with a victory from the tie.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference, ATK head coach Antonio Lopez Habas reiterated the importance of the fans in their home fixture but declared, “We need the earn the support of the fans. To be fair, I don’t just want to ask the fans to support us. The players on the pitch must prove it to the fans. Our chances of a win increases by 20 per cent with the support of the fans. Without supporters, there is no football."
ATK attackers were wasteful in the match against Kerala and squandered multiple opportunities, which eventually cost them the match. Asked if he was concerned about the lack of decisiveness in front of goal, Habas said, "We had many opportunities to score but it didn't happen. Some days we might have lesser opportunities but might score more goals. Unfortunately, we did not have good luck, but that is all in the past. Now I must only think about the coming match. The team obviously must improve. We played seven new players in the starting XI against Kerala and they will find the right balance soon."
Habas opted to use Michael Soosairaj in a more reserved role in the last match and when questioned if the trend would sustain, responded, “I think Soosairaj has a fantastic future. One day he can play as a wing back, and the next, he can play as a forward. He can play in many sectors of the pitch."
Habas was accompanied by defender Prabir Das, who missed the entirety of last season with an ankle injury but returned to the pitch in the last fixture. Asked about his thoughts on his comeback, the defender said, "I would like to thank the ATK management. They sent me to rehabilitation in Bangalore and helped me get better. I would like to thank head coach Habas as well for keeping me updated when I was in rehab and he kept me motivated as well."
Read the Match Preview here.