ATK Mohun Bagan head Juan Ferrando has now set his sight for the League Winners’ Shield after the Mariners accomplished the mission to secure back-to-back semi-final spots in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) after defeating Chennaiyin FC 1-0 in a hard-fought contest at PJN Stadium in Margao, Goa on Thursday.

Ferrando was happy with the hard work and trust his players have shown in the decisions the coaching staff has taken up till now which has resulted in an unbeaten streak of 15 matches.

Match Report: ATK Mohun Bagan edge past Chennaiyin FC to qualify for the semi-finals

Juan Ferrando addressed the media after the game. Here are some excerpts from his press conference:

Were you made to work hard for the win?

To be honest, I think in the first half we were in a better position, attack-wise, and we were trying to find open spaces but of course, in the second half, it was very tight. As compared to normal games, there is more pressure in games like this because we are thinking of the three points, a semi-final spot but for Chennaiyin FC it was the last game, it is the time to enjoy the game. And when you enjoy the game, you play better as compared to playing under pressure.

Do you think holding on to 1-0 was dangerous?

No, in the first half, my point of view was that we had more clear chances to make it 2-0 maybe. In the second half, we were not at our best, the team was not fresh, there weren’t clear opportunities and we were losing the ball in passing. In transition, we were not improving. I’m happy with the players who are trying to do their best every day.

Roy Krishna scored his first goal in 2022, is it now a good time for him to get back to scoring ways?

Yes, I am happy for Roy because it has been a difficult time for him with quarantine, Covid-19, newborn baby. He and his family had some difficult moments. But hopefully, this is finished, just twenty more days and everybody will be out of the bubble. Then we will have a normal life and enjoy.

When you joined the club, ATKMB were placed seventh. Did you think you would make it to the semi-finals unbeaten since then?

I am happy but this is not my job. This is the job of firstly, the owners who trusted me with this. Second, the players are amazing. They accept our decisions, they have a lot of respect for us. They do their job very well. This is their result. What is most important is that we are in the second position and we have a chance in the semi-final.

You have a chance to also win the League Winners’ Shield, and in the next match, Jamshedpur FC will face Odisha FC which will help decide that. Your thoughts on that?

Of course, I hope Odisha FC help us and next Monday it will be a final. Well, Jamshedpur FC have been amazing this season. And in the end, if they take three points against Odisha, it will be a moment to congratulate them as it has been a good season for them. It is necessary to accept fair play about the job. We will see what happens now. My target is to win and we’ll win (to go) on top of the table. But maybe in case that is not possible, it is normal. We will have to accept that. Jamshedpur as well as Kerala, for example, Hyderabad had an amazing season. They are working hard, got good results, good squad and players. I think it is necessary to talk about the rest of the teams.