Odisha FC are very strong and it will be a difficult game: ATK Mohun Bagan’s Juan Ferrando

Juan Ferrando is looking forward to resuming ATK Mohun Bagan’s season in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) after not playing any games for more than two weeks, due to rising Covid-19 cases. However, the Mariners are finally set to take on Odisha FC in a Super Sunday clash.

ATK Mohun has 15 points from nine matches and are one point below Odisha FC, who have 16 points from 11 matches. With both the teams sitting just outside off the semi-final spots, calling this match a season-decider would be pre-mature but the importance of this match can not be downplayed.

Looking to make the most of their games in hand, the Spaniard addressed the media during the pre-match press conference of the game.

Here are the excerpts from Juan Ferrando’s press conference:

Odisha FC is coming into this match after a convincing win over NorthEast United FC. What are your thoughts on the opponent?

Yeah, I think at this moment the games are difficult for everybody because everyone knows, in this moment in the bubbles it is difficult to work with the teams, to work with the players because someone is positive or someone has an injury risk and it is very difficult. But of course, I think in this game is the most important thing is the control and the timings. Because now, of course, Odisha FC is confident after their last match, they won with a clear score against NorthEast United FC, but at this moment for us, the most important thing is believing in ourselves, thinking about our plan and trying to do the best in a difficult moment.

It's been a while since the team played their last match. It was on January 5. It's been like 18 days. Is this a long break? Do you think this will affect your players? Will they be fresh or rusty to take on a match?

Fresh is when for example. I think it's when you have a normal life, you know, but the team is very tight. I think 100% of the rest of the clubs have the same problem. Maybe it's not time to talk about fitness or about the physical condition, but it is time to talk about the mentality. I think everybody that is working in the bubble is very, very tired. I know sometimes for the players enjoying the time is very difficult. And it's so strange to explain to you all the feelings. Again, it's not time to talk about if we are fit or not fit.

The Kolkata derby is scheduled on January 29 which is the next game after the Odisha FC game. Do you think that winning the Odisha FC match will set the mood for the important game?

All games are important. Now our focus is on Odisha FC and then SC East Bengal. My point of view is that it’s my first time in the big derby and it's a pleasure to be in this game and play against SC East Bengal because I know these days in quarantine I read a lot about the history of the World Cup, I read a lot about football in Kolkata and I think it's it's a pleasure to be in these games.  I'm so upset because it's not possible in Kolkata because of the feelings of the fans. But in the end, 100% is a pleasure to be in this game.

How worried are you about the players who were just recovered from Covid-19 or are recovering from Covid-19?

I'm so scared because you know when you get Covid-19 it affects your health, increases risk of injuries and your performance is not good. But the second point is, is about the value of psychology because it's not so easy. You are in quarantine, you are in the rooms. You are closed all the time, you change your time for sleep, you change the time your food, you are not happy, you are changing everything in your body and in the end, it is difficult at this moment, I'm so scared for the players.

What do you think are the strong points of Odisha FC?

Always the defense, the center-backs and in forwards, Jerry  Mawihmingthanga and Jonathas Cristian are strong points. At this moment,  they are very strong. In attack, it is very clear and has a strong line defense. I think it's a difficult game. Because against us Odisha FC is a good team but also in this situation.

All the other teams in the league have played more matches than ATK Mohun Bagan. Is this an advantage for you?

At this moment, the advantage I think does not exist.  The advantage is in case, for example, you have the complete squad, training, working on the pitch at this moment in our case this is not really the case, you know, of course, this is not an advantage. For me, the most important is when the team is ready and is happy because they are working in normal life is perfect. But now, I understand is the same with the rest of the teams.

How confident are you to make it to the last four under the current circumstances?

I'm confident because we have a very good squad. We have good players. I think they want to improve every day. This is the most important they want to improve every day is difficult moments. But for example, in the last two days was training. The feeling is they want to work. This is very good.

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