AFC Cup 2022: Tiri's injury was decisive for the outcome of the game: ATK Mohun Bagan FC’s Juan Ferrando

ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando was disappointed at his team failure to collect three points in their opening match of the 2022 AFC Cup. The ISL side lost 2-4 to the Gokulam Kerala at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday evening.

A brace by Luka Majcen, along with goals from Rishad and Jithin MS saw the visitors seal the deal in the match that witnessed too many defensive errors from ATKMB. The Mariners though found two goals from Pritam Kotal and Liston Colaco from set-pieces, but they were unable to match the pressure put on by Gokulam.

ATK Mohun Bagan will be facing Bashundhara Kings on Saturday, with Gokulam Kerala up against Maziya on the same day in Group D. The Mariners will be aiming to salvage positive results from the remaining matches in the group stage.

Ferrando addressed the media during the post-match press conference after Wednesday’s loss.

Here are the excerpts from the press conference:

Are you happy with the final result?

We had so many chances in the first half. The score was good and then in the second half due to injuries we got unlucky. The counter-attacks and transitions were difficult for the team. There are no excuses for the loss. It’s now necessary to put our focus in the next matches which are on Saturday and Tuesday.

Do you think that the injury of Tiri cost you the match?

Of course, Tiri’s injury was crucial because we had to change our plan. Then I thought about using Ashutosh Mehta for the transitions. We took the decision and we changed the formation as players like Joni Kauko and David Williams were very tired – because of the weather. We were not ready for the transition. In our case, in the first half we had chances but we were unlucky. This is past now. We need to learn from our mistakes.

Why did the team repeatedly failed in transition?

To be honest if you check the first goal it was a one versus one situation. One player was very tired and lost the ball and in the transition as well, when the team was attacking. Regrading the second goal, it was a foul on Joni Kauko. The third goal was an obvious one because I can take the clippings and explain the mistake to the players. We have to ensure that we don’t repeat the same mistakes in the next match. Everybody knows about our point of view of football. Its very important to rectify these mistakes.

Do you think you missed a central defender on the field after Tiri’s injury?

Yesterday, I mentioned in the press conference that everybody is ready to help the team. If it is not possible for Tiri, then Tangri will play. If Tangri is not available then Sumit Rathi will play. Of course, Tiri’s injury was crucial because we had to change plans. But I don’t want to blame Tiri’s injury for the loss.

Also Read: AFC Cup 2022: ATK Mohun Bagan go down to Gokulam Kerala in an entertaining Group D opener

Do you think the timing and weather of the match played a part in the result?

No. Gokulam Kerala and we played under the same conditions. To be honest, in the first half, the match was even. In the second half, may be the players were tired. When you’re down 2-0, 2-1, 3-1, the psychology is not same. When you’re up 3-1, may be the weather is very hot, but you want to run because your team is ahead by two goals. But if you are down, the psychology plays its role. We are training more or less at the same time. It’s necessary to accept the loss and learn from this result.

Since only one team can qualify from the group. Is it all over for the ATK Mohun Bagan?

At this moment, it is important to prepare for the next match. We have two days to prepare. We need to change the psychology of the team. It is important to talk to the players and help the team with their mentality. We have to go step by step and focus on the present, rather than tomorrow.  I hope our players will do much better against Bashundhara Kings.

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