It is a dangerous match for us: Habas ahead of Kolkata derby

ATK Mohun Bagan will be looking to consolidate their position atop of the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 standings when they face SC East Bengal in the Kolkata derby at the Fatorda Stadium on Friday. The Mariners got the better of their arch-rivals when the teams met earlier in the season, but a lot has changed since then with SC East Bengal being a much better side now and ATK Mohun Bagan’s head coach Antonio Lopez Habas is under no illusions as far as the challenge that awaits his side is concerned.

"It is a different match now and the situation is different. The targets are different for both teams, but our idea remains the same, there’s no change in that, we have to get the three points. We have the confidence and possibility to win the game, but SC East Bengal are also a good team," Habas said at the pre-match press conference.

The Spaniard feels both sides’ form and position will count for little when they collide in the Kolkata derby – the biggest game in Indian football. "The derby is a different game. The attitude is at the highest level and it is different from other matches because you have to solve a situation in a different manner. It is a dangerous match for us," Habas opined.

ATK Mohun Bagan have won their last four games, scoring 10 goals along the way but Habas urged his players to be cautious and stressed the need for his side to find the right balance. "The idea is to both attack and defend. When we have the ball, we have to attack and when the opponent has the ball we have to defend well. The transition is the most important thing in football. The most important thing in attack or defending is when a team recovers the ball," he said.

The 63-year-old also warned his players not to be overly reliant on their talisman Roy Krishna, who has been in fine form of late and is the league’s top-scorer with 13 goals. "I think Roy is a fantastic footballer, but it is very important for us to not depend only on him because for Roy to give a good performance, 10 players behind him need to give a good effort. I am very happy with the performance of Roy and I want him to continue with his good form," Habas said.

While discussing the passion and emotions of fans in the Kolkata derby, Habas said: “My message for our fans is to trust and believe in us because we can win, lose or draw but at all times the team will ensure that our supporters are proud of the performance of the team.“

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