LFL Show: ATKMB's Juan Ferrando discusses Kolkata Derby win, goals for the season
ATK Mohun Bagan won the all-important Kolkata derby against East Bengal FC with a scoreline of 2-0 in front of their fans at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season.
With that win, ATKMB ensured that they continued their perfect record in the Kolkata Derby, making it five wins in as many matches. The scoreline was goalless at half-time, but the Mariners came out all guns blazing in the second half, with Hugo Boumous and Manvir Singh's strikes sealing an important win for Juan Ferrando's side.
ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Ferrando, who featured in the latest Let’s Football Live show alongside Erik Paartalu and Suyash, spoke about the emotions he went through at the full-time whistle.
"Playing in the Kolkata derby is pressure but it's fantastic pressure," the Spaniard said on the Let's Football Live show. "When you play in such kind of atmosphere, it is amazing. It's perfect because in that moment, the motivation is high. The emotions before the match get a player ready for the game. It's perfect and it's a pleasure for the players to have these emotions. There is pressure because we want to do the best for the team and you want to win in front of our supporters. I like this kind of pressure because after the game, the feelings are very good."
Ferrando cut an animated figure during the Kolkata derby, which provided plenty nail-biting moments. The Spaniard couldn't control his emotions at the full-time whistle as his side registered their second-straight win in the ongoing Hero ISL season.
"Those celebration will give the idea of the pressure, apart from that when the actions leading up to a goal is good, you would feel it," he recalled. "Those who are close to me would know that I jumped twenty times in my room after reaching the hotel. When you are winning after some setbacks, it is normal because there is hard work behind those results."
While ATKMB have got off to a decent start in Hero ISL 2022-23, the Mariners had tough preseason. They suffered a defeat in the Inter-Zonal Semi-finals of the AFC Cup and couldn't make it past the group stages in the Durand Cup. However, Ferrando said that handling pressure and emotions is not easy for players.
"Unlike foreign clubs, it is difficult to say here in India, maybe next Sunday we can have a new problem because I never thought we would win against Kerala Blasters FC with three-goal margin,"he explained. "Because there are a lot of emotions coming into play, but the team is confident and happy and we are more close to achieving that constant progress. Every match here in Hero ISL is different and difficult. The moment you thought you were controlling the game, you will be proven wrong in the next few minutes. so what is going to happen in the next match is a big question for me every time."
He further added: “Emotions play a prominent role in Indian football and I think it is a cultural aspect, because normally abroad a player would enter the main team through under age category, so they played under pressure and know to handle it but in India, the main squad player never played under pressure in the age category. The moment when they miss one key pass, they would be completely out for two minutes and vice versa. In the Kerala Blasters match, after scoring a few goals, if you see Asish Rai and (Lalrinliana)Hnamte, they are different players than in the early minutes. I am learning about these things every day. I learn a lot about keeping myself calm while dealing with the players. The target of the club is to win the Hero ISL trophy, the League Winners Shield and play in the AFC Champions League, as we get a chance to play against the best teams in Asia. But, it is necessary to keep calm and think about the next match."
This is Ferrando's third season in the Hero ISL. The Spaniard was previously part of FC Goa from 2020-22, before departing the club midway during the Hero ISL 2022-23 season and joining ATKMB. Ferrando revealed he is learning new things everyday here in India, and that the level of competition between Hero ISL teams has got even this season.
"I like the proposals of the coaches, it is an opportunity for me to learn new things," he said. "Unlike the Spanish league, in Hero ISL every team has a different playing style and apart from these football things, some aspects are outside the football pitch, for example, Hyderabad FC is successful because their dressing room might have a good atmosphere, which I want to learn from other coaches."
Talking about the ongoing season, Ferrando said: "It is quite difficult to judge teams at this moment. Hyderabad is the best team so far, as they are doing well at the same level and getting success, we need to learn about Hyderabad FC. Odisha FC started the season very well. I am very surprised with Bengaluru FC, we can expect them to be in the top three at the end of the season. Jamshedpur FC also continuing the same squad. Kerala Blasters are incredible with (Ivan) Kalyuzhyni and (Dimitrios) Diamantakos. About NorthEast United FC, I was disappointed to hear that Romain Philippoteaux got injured. I was discussing with my staff that he is similar to (Federico) Gallego. He is good a number ten, good in build-up plays and running in between lines will become the best foreign player in this season but unfortunately he got injured.