Important to respect Abahani Dhaka: ATK Mohun Bagan’s Juan Ferrando ahead of AFC Cup tie

After a resounding 5-0 victory against Blue Star SC in the preliminary round 2 of the AFC Cup, ATK Mohun Bagan will be looking forward to taking on Abahani Dhaka, a club from the neighboring Bangladesh in the south-Asia zone playoff round on Tuesday.

After a tough start to the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 campaign, the appointment of Juan Ferrando in December, changed the fortunes of the Mariners and they finished in a respectable 3rd place. They have carried this positive vein of form into this cup competition which can be seen by 5-0 scoreline of their first match.

ATKMB defender Pritam Kotal had called this match as a final for the entire team and Head Coach Juan Ferrando emphasised that Abahani Dhaka need to be respected because of the quality they possess.

Head Coach Juan Ferrando and Pritam Kotal addressed the media before the match.

Here are some excerpts from Ferrando's press conference:

What are your thoughts on the game against Abahani Dhaka?

Ferrando: A lot of respect for the opponent because this is the same case from a week ago. It's a very difficult game and it's very important to respect the opponent because it will be difficult.

The first match was like a cakewalk for you so is it a mental advantage to have?

Ferrando: When you win 5-0, you know it is one game because if you want to continue in knockouts so in this case, to be in the group stages, it's normal. When the opponent is down 1-0, they try to attack and that leaves more space. This is the reason. But don't forget sometimes in transition, there were difficult moments for us. Our opponent is very good at transitions. Everybody knows about Raphael Augusto here in India, so it's important for players that they find the spaces and it's very important to control these details.

Read More: India and the Hero ISL are always in my heart: Raphael Augusto

What are the positive things you want to take from the previous match?

Ferrando: Everything is positive. Depends on your point of view but in my position it is necessary to think that everything is good, everything is positive. Everybody's ready, everybody wants to do their best because in football if you are losing energy in extra things it's difficult for everybody.

Do you think that the crowd can have an effect on this match?

Ferrando: My point of view is that tomorrow many people are coming here to help us. This is my point of view. Of course it's an advantage when you're playing at home because the supporters are coming to support the team. I think it's better to play at home than away. When you're playing at home, everybody supports your actions, everybody supports the team and this is fantastic. I hope the atmosphere tomorrow will be the same as the last match. I hope more crowds come because it's possible with 75% of the stadium now and I think it's amazing.

Here are excerpts from Pritam Kotal's press conference:

How important is this match for you and your team?

Kotal: It is a final for us. We are ready and we respect them. But we will play our football and they will play their football so it will be exciting. The best team will win.

Do you think that the crowd can have an effect on this match?

Kotal: As I said many times, the supporters are very important for us. I believe if we played when he played at our second semifinal, if we have supporters in the stadium, we are in the final that day. So it does not matter whom we play, the supporters are 12th man for us and that gives extra motivation. So they are very important for us and especially in our home.

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