It's important to prepare every game like a final: Ferrando ahead of Kolkata Derby

ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando is looking forward to the first Kolkata derby of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season, but wants to treat it like any other game.

Rivals ATK Mohun Bagan and East Bengal FC will lock horns again at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Saturday, which will be the first Kolkata derby in the Hero ISL that will be played in front of fans.

Ferrando also said that the Mariners’ perfect win record in the Kolkata Derby from the past two Hero ISL seasons won’t have a big influence, with all sides in the league capable of beating each other.

Here are the excerpts from his press conference:

ATK Mohun Bagan have been punished during transitions. Going into the game against East Bengal, how confident are you that the team will be able to deal with transitions which have hurt the team in the last few games?

Sometimes these details depend on the moment of the match. When we talk about these situations, we lose the focus in some other details. This is a part of football and it is necessary to continue working. It's not easy. We can't lose our plans, our way. Step by step, this team will be stronger. It's not important who is in the line-up, but the important thing is that we stick to the plan. It's part of the process. Sometimes it is disappointing when we lose games like in the AFC Cup. But this is the past. We can't change that. We can change the present and the future. 

Apart from the goals, what are the positives you take from the last two games and what are your expectations from the upcoming match?

It's not just about the goal, we created many chances. Against Kerala Blasters, we performed better in front of the goal. But for me, the most important thing is to find the space, find the best moment and create chances in front of the goal. The situation for us is much better because we won the last game, but it's the past. Our focus is on Saturday and the upcoming games.

You have three new foreign players this season, have they fulfilled your expectations?

The target of the foreing players is to support the squad. They try to help the local players, because at the end, it is about the team. For me the most important thing is that they are working in the same way. When we prepare the plan, it is necessary to make decisions, but I am happy because in my case the six foreign support the team and try to do their best in training sessions. I think this is a good way for the team and the club.

You have a 100% win record in the derby. Does that provide a psychological boost?

Saturday's game will be like any other game. It's about three points. Of course, the occasion is special because I know the city and the history of the derby. The supporters will be coming and everyone wants to enjoy this match. But for us, it's one more game and a new opportunity to get three points. We need to continue working. If you watch the rest of the Hero ISL matches so far, more or less, every other team has been very compact. Maybe in the previous season, there was a big difference between the team at the top and the team at the bottom. This season, the teams are more or less of the same level. There are a lot of good teams and they have a chance to win. It's important to prepare every game like a final. It's difficult, but it's good for Indian football.

On ATK Mohun Bagan's goalkeeping issues...

It is difficult to talk about one position or one player. Our target is to work with the team, in attack and defence. We need to work together. My focus is never in one player or position because we are 11 against 11.

Dimitris Petratos will be marked heavily. Do you think that will provide other players the space to play more freely in the final third?

Every player will have the opportunity to do everything they want. If we are working like a team, it is not necessarily to put attention on one or two players. Maybe 10-20 years ago, it wasn't the same, because one player could change everything. But now in modern football, the most important thing is to work with the same plan. If you're working like a team, you are stronger. This is the most important thing. It is difficult for 11 players to work in the same way, but this is our target.

You have a 100% win record against East Bengal FC in two games so far. But on the pitch, the games have been very close. This season, East Bengal are defensively more organised under Stephen Constantine. How do you plan to tackle that? 

It is important to find the space. If the coach of East Bengal FC has a good organisation in defence, it is good for them, but I am happy with my team. If we move the ball very well, we will find the space (to exploit their defence). The size of the pitch is large and there will be excess spaces to attack. The most important thing is to find the best moment. Our mentality is to attack and of course, we are working everyday in training sessions. To find solutions when we are close to the goal and the opponent decides to high press or put pressure. I trust in my squad and team. In my view, we have a lot of talent. This is my target to help the players find these spaces. If you are focusing on defence, there will be spaces to exploit for the other team.

Given the form ATK Mohun Bagan have had against East Bengal FC so far, is there a fear of the law of averages catching up finally?

We want to win. For us it’s an important game, but it’s necessary to know the situation and think minute-by-minute. I understand the emotions of the derby. But it’s a part of football. This is why we love to play football, for the joy it brings. We want to win. But it is necessary to control some things because the result is sometimes part of the process. Sometimes it’s mistakes or poor decision-making, and many other points. 

 

 

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