The match was difficult: ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando

ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando declared it was not an easy result as his side edged NorthEast United with a 2-1 victory in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, in Kolkata, on Thursday.

Liston Colaco saw his goal cancelled out by NEUFC defender Aaron Evans before Subhasish Bose popped up with the winner late in the game. With their third win of the season, the Mariners have now moved to the second spot in the table.

Ferrando, who attended the post-match press conference alongside defender Subhasish Bose was delighted with his side’s win, but felt that the game was difficult. The ATKMB gaffer further said that the Highlanders were unlucky in some moments in the game, despite the hosts securing a win in Kolkata.

Here are the excerpts from Ferrando:

NorthEast United FC head coach Marco Balbul said that ATKMB did not deserve the three points. Your views on that?

For me, the most important thing is to help my team. In my point of view, NorthEast United FC should be further up the table with four-five points. But at this moment, they have zero points. The match was difficult. They have a good team and a plan. And in some moments, they have been unlucky. Today, after going down 0-1, NEUFC had a big chance to equalise (through Parthib Gogoi) and in the end, they conceded a goal. Our focus is now the next game against FC Goa.

What are the areas your side need to improve ahead of the game against FC Goa?

We have five-six days to prepare for this match. It will be a difficult match, of course, because FC Goa have started the season well. They have nine points at this moment. They have good players. It’s a great opportunity for the spectators to watch the game. We have time to prepare and I hope the players will be ready. Both the teams will enjoy this match as both teams like to play with the ball.

Will the game against FC Goa be special for you?

I was happy to work with FC Goa for a season. But then I moved here (to ATK Mohun Bagan) and I am happy. I have a good squad, players and the people around me. I am enjoying every day here in Kolkata.

Your thoughts about Liston Colaco? He finally scored today after missing plenty of chances in the matches earlier this season..

It’s difficult for players to perform at a high level all season. All the players go through a dip in form and it’s normal. I’m happy with Liston because he is working everyday in training, his mentality is strong and this is the most important thing. Everyone knows the level at which Liston can perform. He is very close to reaching what is normal for him. He needs to improve on some details. But it’s about a process and I am not worried. Liston needs to work for himself and the team. If he improves on those details, it will be perfect.

Can you provide an update on Florentin Pogba?

He is still recovering from his injury. Maybe he can play, but I don’t like to put pressure on one player (to return), because then the risk (of injury) increases. It’s more about protection. The same with Carl (McHugh). He was facing an issue with his hamstring ahead of the game against Kerala Blasters FC, and we did not include him. We need time (to work with Pogba) because recovering from injuries is not so easy. It’s important to take it step by step. When he (Pogba) jumps, he feels some problems in his ankle. When he is doing explosive actions, he feels pain. The doctors are working with him day by day. Now his role in the team is to support everybody. He is not upset or disappointed. He pushes the team. When one player is injured and he reacts this way, for me, he is the Man of the Match.

Dimitri Petratos provided the assist for McHugh’s equaliser against Mumbai City FC and he provided the assist as well for Bose today. Do you think Dimitri is another leader in the team apart from Joni Kauko, who can help the team in difficult moments?

In the end, scoring goals and winning games is the most important thing in football. For me, it’s not important if the striker is inside the box and scores goals. This team is ready, in possession and in attack. We know how to control the spaces and the timing. It’s perfect. This is good, because not only the line-up, the substitutes as well, they know the concepts. Sometimes we have success, and sometimes we miss chances. But honestly, I am very happy because we have 12 goals. And these goals have been spread across the team. Dimitri is not a typical number nine. He knows his role. He controls the space, makes the cross and attacks the dangerous areas (in the box). I’m happy for this.

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