Our medical staff has a good challenge ahead: ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando

ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando stressed on the importance of players’ recovery time ahead of their match against NorthEast United FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22, at the PJN Stadium, on Saturday evening.

The Mariners registered a remarkable 2-1 victory over Hyderabad FC in their previous match to extend their unbeaten streak to nine matches. A win over the Highlanders in the weekend fixture would further consolidate their position in the top-four.

Ferrando addressed the media during the pre-match press conference ahead of the NorthEast United FC game.

Here are the excerpts from the press conference:

NorthEast United FC is a team that is not doing well at the moment. Do you think it is the perfect opportunity to grab three points from the game?

I think in our case, in our last seven games, we do not see this as an advantage. Everybody needs three points, six teams can have the chance to make it to the play-offs. Then because, in the last games, the players want to do the best for their club,  thinking to extend the contract, because they could get offers at this moment. The last few weeks everybody wants to do the best because of personal targets or for the clubs.

Do you have any specific plan for the bottom-placed team?

Of course, every game is different. Every game, we have different plans. I don't trust in just sticking to one plan and only work only in the same plan. I like (to follow) the same way, of course, that is our way - to keep the ball, to control the space, protect the spaces, try to play in attack and find the best moment, the positional attack, rely on high press, this is our style. This is our way. But about the plan, sometimes it's necessary to change some details depending on their position, the wingers, depending on the position of the centre-back.

Looking at the upcoming fixtures, the games come thick and fast, there is very little gap between each game. So how do you plan to prepare for the next few matches?

For the next few matches, the responsibility is there for the medical staff and fitness coach, because it's about recovery. After the NorthEast United FC game, Sunday is for recovery, Monday is the day before the game and it's impossible to prepare the team in training sessions. It's impossible because it will be normal that the players are very tired. And then, the solution in this case is the medical staff to prepare a good recovery. Immediately we have to think about the Goa game and then the same for the Kerala Blasters FC game. It's a good challenge for the department of medical staff and fitness coaches.

You have not used Sandesh Jhingan, what are the possibilities of fielding him from the start against NorthEast United FC?

In the case of a Jhingan, we talk a lot of time. He joined us in January, but wasn't lucky because he tested positive for COVID I remember 10-12 days in his room. Then we start with quarantine, and then he has started the training modelizing the last week of January - the first week of February. After six, seven months, the players need to start pre-season. He's working on it at this moment for him.

In normal precision, you play 30, 45, 60, 90 minutes, in this case it's difficult to give opportunities for team because if I give him 50 minutes, the intensity of the game is not like friendly game is very important, but I am very happy because the last training sessions, he was very good. He is working hard. Of course at one moment, I will give him one chance because I know it's very important for him to play with us, he is an important player.

Looking at the points table, how many points do you think ATK Mohun Bagan needs to qualify for the semi-finals?

I think, if we get about 35-36 points, 100% we will be there in the top four, but to be honest and thinking about the first position, I think it's necessary to get 38 points. 100%, we need 38 points, but you know, this depends on other results also.

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