The intense competition for top spots is good for Hero ISL: ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando

ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando is not looking beyond the next match as they are set to face Mumbai City FC in their Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 match at the PJN Stadium in Margao, Goa on Thursday.

The Mariners are on a seven-match unbeaten streak and are fresh from an impressive 3-1 win over arch-rivals SC East Bengal in the Kolkata derby last weekend. However, they have lost in each of their four matches against Mumbai City FC.

Ferrando addressed the media during the pre-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from the press conference:

ATK Mohun Bagan lost 1-5 to Mumbai City FC earlier this season, so, how would you approach the upcoming game?

I think it's totally different. Now, at this moment you know they are working for one month, I think to be honest it’s not one month, it’s just only two weeks because one week was in quarantine and everything. And I think the league at this moment is more or less like crazy, you know everybody can win against everybody. You have to be clear in the plan you know and think in this case maybe we have a success.

Going by the recent form, Mumbai City FC have been through a rough patch while ATK Mohun Bagan are unbeaten for the last seven matches. Do you think this is the perfect opportunity for the Mariners to register their first win over Mumbai City FC?

To be honest, no. I'm not thinking about it. I’m thinking about the three points for us. It's very important because we want to be at the top of the table and to work in this way. Of course, our target is to get three points, to prepare a plan to get three points, that's all I'm not thinking about. For me it's another game. I think it's good to play this game because I know their (Mumbai City FC) style. I know their things. We, of course, will try to do the best in the game.

Do you plan to make any changes in formation or tactics in the upcoming game from that of the Kolkata derby?

Of course yeah, because it is a different game, we play against one team in a different style. There are a lot of points of difference from the last game. Yeah, I think it's very important for us to be ready, because every day we have a new plan.

The race for the top four has heated. At least seven teams are fighting for a spot in the top four. How important is this match in the context of the championship?

To be honest for me, the last nine games are very important. I think it is good for the ISL now, for the supporters, when you check the table, everybody has opportunities. And then what happens, all the games are more competitive, you know. But okay, for now, our target is to try to do the best to get three points.

Talking about the Kolkata Derby, Kiyan Nassiri delivered a match winning performance in that game. So what can we expect from him and upcoming matches? What are your plans for him?

To be honest, he has to continue working, to improve. Of course I'm happy because he was good in controlling space and he was good in action. But okay, he needs to improve in pressing, he needs to improve in the timing of the passes, that is normal. This is our target. Day by day, game by game I think it is necessary (to improve). Of course, they understand that our supporters are very happy for him. But we need time to protect him.

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