Need to change our mentality when leading in a game: ATK Mohun Bagan’s Juan Ferrando

ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando expressed his wish to change the mentality of his team when they are leading in a game, and not let complacency creep in. They are set to face Hyderabad FC in the semi-final second leg match of the ongoing Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 at the Athletic Stadium, in Bambolim, on Wednesday evening.

The Mariners lost the first leg 1-3 and now need to play out of their skins to overturn the deficit and enter the final of the Hero ISL for the second consecutive time. Roy Krishna, their star striker was on target in the previous game, while Bartholomew Ogbeche, Mohammad Yasir and Javier Siverio each registered a goal for Hyderabad FC.

Ferrando addressed the media in the pre-match conference ahead of Wednesday’s game.

Here are the excerpts from the press-conference:

ATK Mohun Bagan is already down by two goals on aggregate going into the second-leg and it is obvious that the team will play with an attacking mentality. Does that put extra pressure on the defence, taking into account Hyderabad FC’s counter attacks?

No, at the end, it is necessary to prepare a plan about everything. We'll also see the plan of Hyderabad FC, but, for me, the most important is our plan, our focus is on that. That’s all, and try to change the score.

Why did ATK Mohun Bagan defence lose concentration in the first leg of the semi-final?

It is because the players are sometimes very tired. They have to repeat the same thing all the time. Of course, it is not an excuse for me. But, I know them, I checked their faces, they are very very tired. And sometimes, these details (matter), our focus is not 100% because life has been difficult for the players in the last few months.

What are the areas ATK Mohun Bagan need to improve after the first leg?

We need to improve in a lot of areas, but, for me, the most important is the mentality, when your team is 1-0 up, it is necessary to make it 2-0 . And when you are up 2-0, we have to try to go 3-0. We cannot go 1-0 up, concede goals and drop points. I think this mentality has to change.

We have seen you using Roy Krishna as a winger rather than a number nine, is it a part of the strategy?

Yes, when Roy Krishna played as a winger in the last two games, he had success against Chennaiyin FC, it was a very good goal and also against Hyderabad FC. For me, it's very important that when we prepare the plan, we create space and then players use the space. For me, it is not a problem if it is Roy, it is (David) Williams, it is (Joni) Kauko, or it is Prabir Das. The most important thing is to create the space and use the space.

What went wrong in the last two games, having remained unbeaten in consecutive 15 matches in the season?

The condition of players against Jamshedpur FC in the last game was very difficult for us because we needed to win, it was like a final. But, the reason why we lost the last two games, I repeat , is that when I got here in December, we played 15 matches as if they were finals, because we were in seventh position.

Every game was an important game, every game was like a final. Every game at the end was normal, when you play two, three finals, it is okay. When you play 16 finals, the team is very tired. But I'm happy because we tried our best. Of course, the last two games were unlucky. Against Jamshedpur FC, to be honest, we were unlucky because there were only three shots on target. In the Hyderabad FC game, we did not have success in set-pieces.

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