Mohun Bagan Super Giant head coach Antonio Lopez Habas expects his team to be intelligent when they host Jamshedpur FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Friday. 

In the reverse fixture in Jamshedpur, the Mariners narrowly secured a victory against Jamshedpur FC with a 3-2 scoreline in a fiercely contested match. Armando Sadiku, Liston Colaco, and Kiyan Nassiri were the goal-scorers for the Kolkata side.

A win against the Men of Steel would propel Habas' side to the second position on the league table, with their sights set on clinching their first ISL League Shield. Mohun Bagan SG last took to the pitch on Saturday, where they fought against Odisha FC to secure a point in an end-to-end goalless draw. However, facing Jamshedpur FC, they are determined to secure a win to maintain their progress in the race for the League Shield.

The head coach doesn’t intend to approach all matches in the same manner, as each opponent is unique with its own sets of qualities and weaknesses.

We adapt something, not too much, but something, because all opponents are different and now (Jamshedpur FC) is the case. But obviously, I have to talk before with the players, because we have trained during the week, about the terminal aspects in relation to the match. But obviously, each match is different, each opponent is different. And for that we have to change the terminal things,” stated Habas in the pre-match press conference.

Despite a poor start to the season, Jamshedpur FC appears to have turned a new leaf since the arrival of Khalid Jamil at the helm. In their last five matches, the Men of Steel have avoided defeat with two draws and three exceptional wins.

Adding to the team's momentum is the excellent form of their set-piece specialist, Jeremy Manzorro, who has scored three goals from direct free kicks in the last two matches.

Addressing these threats, Habas shared, “Not bad, (Khalid) Jamil is doing a good job. We respect the opponent but there is no need to panic.”

“For set pieces, the best approach is to avoid conceding them by not committing fouls, corners, etc. We have to be intelligent in that regard,” he added.

Defender Brendan Hamill, who has been out of action since the Kolkata derby on February 3, has been recovering well lately.

With an update on his current situation, the Spanish tactician said, “(Brendan) Hamill is okay. Soon, he will be in the squad.”

Mohun Bagan SG have scored 28 goals in the league, the second-highest so far, trailing only behind Odisha FC. However, their conversion rate doesn't look impressive on paper, considering they have created 164 goal-scoring chances

Shedding light on his views about the issue, Habas stated, “I don't worry about that because we have the possibility, we have chances, we have the opportunity. We have the chance to score, go. That's it. No chances, no score. For that, I am not worried about this aspect because we generate a lot of situations, and a lot of chances, and that is good for the team. We can’t win the matches every time with a 5-0 or 3-0 scoreline.”

Sharing his outlook on the importance of the match against Jamshedpur FC, the 66-year-old said, “My players have a strong mentality for the match, giving it their full 100%. Indeed, the upcoming match against Jamshedpur FC is crucial for us.”

I need to show my ability: Anwar Ali

Defender Anwar Ali accompanied the head coach at the pre-match press conference. Having been sidelined for a significant part of the season due to injury, Ali made a comeback to the first XI in the previous match against Odisha FC. The 23-year-old has only managed to make six appearances this season.

Sharing insights on how he feels returning to the pitch, Ali said, “Football is a game, like, you can get injured at any time. So if I am injured, I will support my team. If I am playing, that time also, I will support my team.”

He continued, “When you come back, you have to give your everything to show your coach what you have, ability and all. So yeah, I'm trying to do that.”

While discussing the threat posed by Manzorro and his set pieces, Ali believes that being wary of conceding free kicks near the box shouldn't be a concern limited to the match against Jamshedpur FC, as every team has players capable of converting from such situations.

“In every match, we have to be, like, not to give freekicks, near the box, not just only for tomorrow, because in every team, they have good players (set-piece takers),” he stated.