ATK Mohun Bagan qualified for the group stages of the AFC Cup following a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Abahani Limited Dhaka in the playoff match at the Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday.

Head Coach Juan Ferrando was delighted to have achieved this feat, which aligned with club’s target but will now look to build on this in the next round of the AFC Cup. He further added that this result will help improve the players for the future. 

ATKMB forward David Williams single-handedly pushed the Mariners further in the competition by scoring a wonderful hat-trick. He was gushing with happiness and hailed the switch to play attacking football for this result.

Read more: ATK Mohun Bagan qualify for the group stages of the AFC Cup after a win over Abahani Limited Dhaka

Head Coach Juan Ferrando and David Williams addressed the media after the game.

Here are some excerpts from the press conference:

What are your thoughts on the game?

Ferrando: In the first half, we had a lot of chances but after 2-1, it was a difficult moment for the team in positional attack but then after the 3-1 it was much better. I’m happy because we are in the group stages as that was our target.

Do you think that this performance will bring success in the next round?

Ferrando: Well, I think I'm never completely happy but for me, it's good because maybe you are up 2-0 or down 2-0, you can change the score in 90 minutes there exists a lot of plans and feelings of the team. For me today, the team improved. When you win 5-0, the team can think okay everything is good but for me after 2-1, of course, the supporters are scared but as a coach, I know this situation improved a lot in this club and this team.

Do you feel that you will have more difficulty in picking the team when some players return?

Ferrando: It's just difficult for me when 28 players are working here and at the end you'll make a decision about the lineup. All the reporters in every press conference talk about our very good squad. Of course, sometimes I'm not happy when I make decisions about the lineup but this is football. I try to find the best lineup for the team. Sometimes I'm upset because there are a lot of injuries. In this case it is difficult. But it's a problem when you have six-seven players out of the lineup. This is a problem for me. But about the opponents for me and I trusted my team and it is not a problem.

Here are some excerpts from David Williams press conference:

How do you rate this performance?

Williams: It rates quite high because at the moment we're in a good moment. We had a good win last week and now we're in the AFC Cup for our region so, it rates high but I think I have to take some time to think about it and let it soak in. I have to take a little bit of time to think about it but it's up there because I've been at this club for three years and it feels good to do it in the Salt Lake Stadium. It would be different if we were playing away so it is special but I don't have my family here and I know they're watching at home but, it'd be more special if they were here but with certain circumstances, that's just the way it is at the moment. It's definitely up there. I just have to think about the AFC Cup coming and be ready.

Do you think that playing a new brand of attacking football is helping to score?

Williams: Yeah, I enjoy this kind of a fresh breath of air while playing this type of football. We've been successful in the past with a different brand of football. So it takes a bit of time to put out what we do there. I think for many reasons we can't play 90 minutes exactly as we started but it's all there. We have good movement, we have good strong players. Sometimes we have quality on the pitch to deliver good balls and it makes it easier for strikers like myself and even Joni and Roy getting in those positions. That's the most important thing. So, we work very hard at training and everything we do in training happens on the pitch. We're prepared and we just have to follow the plan so it's very enjoyable to train and gives us a lot of confidence when we come to the pitch. So, we can walk off after 90 minutes and everyone's smiling, tired, but we're happy.