Mohun Bagan Super Giant head coach Antonio Habas is focused on winning every upcoming match to propel his team back to the summit of the Indian Super League (ISL) table. As they gear up for their clash against FC Goa at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Wednesday, Habas and his team are fully committed to turning their fortunes around.

Mohun Bagan SG currently finds themselves in the fourth position on the league table with 23 points from 12 games. Their recent form has seen a dip, with only four points secured from the last five matches. In contrast, their opponents, FC Goa, are enjoying a strong season, sitting comfortably in the second position with 28 points from 12 matches and remaining undefeated so far.

Antonio Habas, a seasoned head coach and the only one in the league to secure the ISL Cup twice, is optimistic about his team's chances. He backed his players to secure crucial victories in the second half of the league stage, aiming to compete for the top position. Habas reiterated his commitment to this goal ahead of the upcoming encounter against FC Goa.

"My target and my objective is to win every match. If you win every match then we have a possibility to be in the first (position). We will be first. I can't talk with my players about the possibility of being second or third. The idea is to focus on the first position,” Habas said in the pre-match press conference.

Despite currently occupying the fifth position in the standings, Mohun Bagan Super Giant has an impressive record of just three defeats this season, making it the second-best tally in the league. With eight points behind table-toppers Odisha FC, Mohun Bagan SG has the potential to challenge for the top spot, considering they have played three games fewer.

Habas stressed the significance of playing with unity and discipline to maintain consistency, which he believes will be crucial for achieving positive results and making a push for the coveted top position in the league.

"The magic word in football is balance. The only thing is that we do not concede goals and we score goals. This has to be our idea. You can get that with a collective sense of play, all together. Collective and tactical discipline and voluntary effort has to be our idea." 

Both Mohun Bagan Super Giant and FC Goa feature talented midfielders who possess the capability to impact the game significantly. A notable example is Carl McHugh, who has assumed a leadership role in the midfield for FC Goa this season. Interestingly, McHugh had previously been a crucial part of Mohun Bagan SG for three seasons, emerging as one of the key players for the Mariners. He also clinched the ISL Cup with the team last season. However, during the summer, McHugh made the switch to FC Goa.

When asked if the battle in midfield could decide the outcome of Wednesday’s game, Habas answered: "Always, the center of operation is the midfield department. The center of midfield or inside midfield has more participation in play and sometimes less because you can play on the counter attack and no positional attack." 

Habas also provided an update on the condition of defender Anwar Ali, who missed their previous game against Hyderabad FC through injury. 

"He(Anwar Ali) is recovering every day, maybe we have the possibility to evaluate it tomorrow for participation. e has improved a lot, and he's in 80-85% good condition. Maybe he has a possibility to participate, but we will have to evaluate." 

He also confirmed that full-back Asish Rai is fit for selection but ruled out the availability of Brendan Hamill.

The intensity in the ISL is very high: Abhishek Suryavanshi

Midfielder Abhishek Suryavanshi accompanied Habas at the pre-match press conference. Suryavanshi shared his thoughts on his recent transition from the reserve team to the first team. The youngster was named in the starting eleven in Mohun Bagan SG’s previous game against Hyderabad FC and put in a solid shift in midfield. 

"From the junior squad to the senior squad is like an upgrade. Coming in with the seniors I learned a lot of new things from experienced players, as well as training under the coach I learned new things. I am learning, still learning."

He also talked about the difference in level of play and intensity that he had to work and cope with in the ISL.

"The intensity is different, the intensity is very high in ISL. But I just love to play and enjoy my game as well as play my game," he said. 

"My personal goal for this match is to win the match for the team and the next one is to give my 100%, and help the team."