Not semi-finals, we are aiming for the top position: ATK Mohun Bagan’s Juan Ferrando

ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando is eyeing top prize in the ongoing season and wants to keep their unbeaten streak intact when they face Odisha FC in their Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 match at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco, Goa on Thursday.

The Mariners are currently in the third spot, with 30 points from 16 matches, that includes eight wins and six draws. They were held to a 2-2 draw against Kerala Blasters FC in the previous game.

Ferrando addressed the questions put forward by the media during the pre-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from the press conference:

ATK Mohun Bagan have been creating a lot of chances through Liston Colaco and Manvir Singh, which we saw in the last match, but have failed to convert them. How are you going to deal with this?

To be honest, if you watch the last game against Kerala, we had created clear-cut chances, our goals and actions in the build-up were better. It was just that Kerala Blasters FC’s goals came from incredible shots, which came from Adrian Luna. That's all, because we are better in possessional attack.

The team (Kerala Blasters FC) was not good in positional defence. To be honest, the  shots of Luna were incredible, it is normal because he is a top, top player. That's all, this is the difference between the quality players and normal players.

How was draw against Kerala Blasters FC important in the context of the League Winners Shield?

Of course, our mentality, you know, it's still to get three points every game. Of course for me, it is good to get this point because you know, in the second half, after the goal of Kerala Blasters FC, we tried to create opportunities. We changed the system, we changed some players on the pitch according to the situation.

I think in this case, I'm happy because at the end, the team was successful in the last part of the game. Of course, if the goal was maybe in the 75th or the 80th minute, we would have created more chances for the win. But this is football,  it's necessary to fight until the end and have trust in the team.

Do you think winning against Odisha FC will ensure ATK Mohun Bagan a top-four finish?

No, I'm not thinking about the top four because, you know, I'm thinking about the first position. Yeah, like, our mentality, you know, but we'll see what happens in the upcoming days for us. We have really close games (in the context of the semi-finals) - the Hyderabad FC-Kerala Blasters FC game, then next is Mumbai City FC-Hyderabad, then NorthEast United FC-Jamshedpur and then ATK Mohun Bagan-Jamshedpur FC. Yeah, I think that the next two weeks will be really interesting for the supporters.

Jonathas de Jesus is in fine form, how are planning to tackle him and the Odisha FC team as a whole?

All the time, I’ve explained the same thing. The most important thing is to control all the (players in the) team. If we focus on one player, It's loss of energy. The team is good, Odisha FC is a good team. Of course, they have very good foreign players and also local players like Jerry. But, it is necessary to put complete focus on the entire team.

Liston Colaco was a bit off against Kerala Blasters FC, do you think it was due to his physical condition?

No, it's not the problem of the physical condition. The problem is when you play six, seven games in three weeks, this is a problem for all the teams and players. But, if Liston is not 100% ready, you have (Michael) Soosairaj, but he was in the process of recovery for different injuries.

In this case, we can not use Liston and Soosairaj (at the same time), that is the reason. But, now step by step he’s improving, which is good for me because if Liston is absent, we have a chance to play Soosairaj if he is better in the training. But I'm not so worried because it's very important to understand about Liston that in the last four or five games, he played 90 minutes. And of course, he is a human and he needs to rest sometimes.

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