My dream is to win the Hero ISL, AFC Cup and all the tournaments that ATK Mohun Bagan play in: Juan Ferrando

ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando is not shying away from his lofty ambition and is eyeing a clean sweep of trophies at ATK Mohun Bagan next season.

The Mariners will be in action in the latter stages of the AFC Cup, the Durand Cup, the Hero ISL and possibly even the Super Cup and Ferrando wants to win it all.

The Spaniard, who led the Mariners to the semi-finals of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season, has fuelled the team with new signings for the upcoming longer season.

After a gripping finish in the AFC Cup, Ferrando’s side are through to the inter-zone semi-finals of the tournament and will be keen to beat their earlier record of a semi-final finish in the previous season through the strength of their new quality signings.

With fans getting to support their teams from the stands next season onwards, the 41-year-old lauded the ATK Mohun Bagan faithful on their unwavered support during the AFC Cup, and is delighted to greet them back, marking them as a significant aspect of the club in helping them achieve silverware.

Prior to the start of the upcoming season, the Mariners’ head coach went live on the official Instagram page of ATK Mohun Bagan and conveyed the latest updates about the club.

Here are the excerpts from his Instagram live:

How are you looking forward to the new season?

I’m incredibly excited for the new season because this season is different. Firstly, we have a great opportunity in August with the Durand Cup. I think the championship in front of us is a great opportunity to try to give our best. Then, you have the Super Cup, so, it’s going to be an amazing season.

But, honestly, the most important thing is the training, the pre-season is very significant and I hope that the players come with a strong personality and with 100% motivation. I think it’s important for us to be ready and be positive, except when it comes to covid-19. In the end, players take time with their families and friends and they’re not only thinking about football all the time, so it’s good for them to meet people other than football.

What are your thoughts on the new signings and departures in the club?

Everybody knows about our signings, be it Ashique [Kuruniyan], Hamill [Brendan], Asish [Rai], or Pogba [Florentin]. I’m happy that they want to join us and help. They have quality, they are very strong players, they can help in our playing style, but it’s very important when we have the first meeting to know whether they can help improve ATK Mohun Bagan.    

With respect to the departures, this is the life of footballers, sometimes it’s necessary to find the best players for our team, sometimes there's agreement, sometimes there’s disagreement, so it’s not so easy. But all these players have helped the club a lot and have been an important part of the club, we can never forget that. At this moment, the squad is not complete but I’m happy with the mentality our players have.

How hopeful are you about the club’s chances this season in the AFC Cup?

I can’t predict the future. But I can talk about my dreams. My dream is to win the AFC Cup, the Durand Cup, the Championship, and the Super Cup. We are working our way, preparing the team with a good plan, and this is our target. In my point of view, we have a good team, we have good players but this is the moment to show ourselves.

Of course, the opponent in the AFC Cup will be very strong because we are talking about the semi-finals, we are not talking about play-off before the group stage. But it’s the same in championship when you play the last games against Jamshedpur FC, against Hyderabad FC, these are not easy games, it’s necessary to prepare a good plan. It requires proper training, quality training and everyone needs to be ready to face the challenge. 

This season, the club will be playing all of their matches in front of the fans which was missing in the last couple of seasons. So, what would you like to say to the fans for the upcoming Hero ISL season?

The last games in the AFC Cup were amazing because it feels good when there are several supporters in the stands cheering for the team. Honestly, you know, in football it’s very important about the tactical, the technical, but the emotions, the passion is very important and I’m happy because our supporters have passion, they love the club.

I remember playing against Bashundhara Kings [during the AFC Cup]. There was a storm-like situation at that time and the referees were deciding to cancel the match, and after the storm, the supporters were there in the stands ready to cheer for the club, and at this moment I was thinking, this is incredible. In normal situations, like in Spain, with a storm like this, the people would come back home and watch the game on TV.

In the future, I hope they keep coming to the stadium for all our matches, to help us and of course, enjoy every match. Because if they are enjoying themselves, 100% the team is enjoying themselves. This is the connection we have.

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