Mohun Bagan SG head coach Antonio Lopez Habas is happy with his players as they shared the spoils with Odisha FC of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.

The first match of Saturday between the two League Shield contenders featured a thrilling game of football with end-to-end action. Contrary to the scoreline, both teams created numerous chances displaying an engaging battle that kept the fans glued to their seats. 

Albanian forward Armando Sadiku, who had scored for the Mariners in the reverse fixture, missed quite a few chances. Addressing Sadiku’s misses, the MBSG head coach feels that it's a part of the game and he needs to be given confidence. 

“Today he had three (chances) and no (goal). (That’s) football. I have to give the confidence to the player. So no problem,” stated Habas in the post-match press conference. 

Habas was disappointed with how his team ended the first half. The Mariners kicked off with a blast of energy but midway through the first half, they were put under pressure by the opponents. 

The Spanish tactician shared, “The last 25 minutes or 20 minutes to the first half is not good for me because we didn't have the ball and suffered with the opponent. But we have to control the ball more in the terminal space of the pitch.”

Defender Anwar Ali made a return to the team after being out for two months owing to an unfortunate injury. The 23-year-old was instrumental for his team to have secured a clean sheet against Odisha FC, but Habas believes he could get even better with time. 

After a long time and after the last injury, I think that he had good performance (from Ali). Evidently he has to progress. He has to improve because he had two months of no play. It's normal,” he said.

On being asked about the absence of Brendan Hamill from the squad, Habas responded, “He’s okay. Today he did not come on for prevention (of an injury).”

The 66-year-old is happy with how his team has performed and considers it quite an achievement to not concede against players like Roy Krishna and Diego Mauricio.

“Against Roy and Mauricio, you have to be careful because they are two good players, scoring goals. I am very happy with the commitment and the performance of the team,” said Habas.