Manuel Perez: More than just three points at stake in Goa match

ATK FC host FC Goa at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday. With just three points separating them on the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 table and both vying for the top spot, three points from the match will be vital for both teams.

ATK, however, will have to do without head coach Antonio Lopez Habas, who was shown a red card in ATK’s last match against Kerala and won’t be available on the sidelines for the Goa match. In his stead, assistant coach Manuel Perez will take charge in the dugout on Saturday and faced the media at the pre-match press conference on Friday. Asked if Habas’ absence in the dressing room will be a handicap for the team, he said, “We are a team, a collective. We know how to play. With the head coach unavailable at the sidelines, we will go about our business like we usually do.”

Reiterating the importance of a victory from the contest, Perez opined, “It’s important to win the match. It’s not just about the three points. It’s a crucial match. Goa have been competing with us for the top spot throughout the season and a win on Saturday will be vital. We have to beat them, irrespective of the result. We feel good while playing at home and we will try to win.”

“We will be in Kolkata. The city, for us, is special because we will be playing in front of our home support. We will play Goa and take the three points,” he added.

Perez also confirmed that both Pronay Halder and David Williams are doubtful for the match.

Sharing his opinion on the recently announced amalgamation of ATK and Mohun Bagan for next season, Perez stated, “This is a big news for Indian football. Two great teams are coming together. They will go into the next season together. We have to respect both the Mohun Bagan fans and their history. We also need to respect the ATK fans, who have been with the team for the last few years. I think it’s a great news.”

Defender Agustin Iniguez, who accompanied Perez to the briefing, shared his thoughts on the match and noted, “We know Goa are a very good, one of the best in the league. But we are in good shape. We can win against Goa. We lost the last game against them. It was a bad match for us. We are working hard for the upcoming match.”

Read the Match Preview here.

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