The most important thing is the third position: ATK Mohun Bagan's Juan Ferrando
ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando was happy with his side's performance as the Mariners registered a 2-0 win against East Bengal FC in the Kolkata Derby in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL), at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, in Kolkata, on Saturday.
The high-intensity fixture kicked off with both teams going all out and trying to get the opening goal only for the first half to end goalless. The deadlock was broken by Slavko Damjanovic. The defender tapped the ball in from a close range to give the lead to Ferrando's men. The Red and Gold Brigade came close to scoring, but it was Dimitri Petratos' goal in the dying moments of the match that secured the three points for the Mariners.
The Mariners climbed to the third position with the three points and completed the double over East Bengal FC. They will now look to continue their journey to the knockout round. Meanwhile, East Bengal FC finished their season in the 10th position in the Hero ISL points table with six victories, one draw and 13 defeats in 20 league matches.
The third-spot finish will now see ATK Mohun Bagan face Odisha FC in the one-legged playoff fixture, after the Juggernauts finished sixth in the league standings. Ferrando stated the importance of finishing third in the table and how the season has been a difficult journey for the team and the players.
Kolkata is Green and Maroon 💚♥️#ATKMohunBagan #JoyMohunBagan #আমরাসবুজমেরুন pic.twitter.com/puseimCMys— ATK Mohun Bagan FC (@atkmohunbaganfc) February 25, 2023
"For us, the most important thing is the third position. This season has been quite difficult for everybody. I'm not completely happy but now the moment is to think about the playoffs. I'm 50 per cent satisfied with the victory and I would've been happier if the team was in the top two, but we've faced a lot of problems this season," Ferrando said in the post-match conference.
The Kolkata Derby lived up to the billing with numerous close chances for both teams. Ferrando explained how a compact East Bengal FC team made it difficult in the first half and how he was satisfied with the performance in the 90 minutes.
"In the first half, we tried to find spaces and it's normal that East Bengal FC were compact and it was difficult for us to find spaces but the team moved the ball well in the first half. In the second half, East Bengal FC had gaps between their defenders and midfielders, our players were able to find space between the lines. So when you control the space, it's easy to create opportunities and I'm completely happy with the 90 minutes," he said.
ATK Mohun Bagan will host Odisha FC in a one-legged knockout fixture. A victory against the Juggernauts would set up a semi-final clash against Hyderabad FC. Ferrando shed light on how the team will be ready for their next fixture and talked about Odisha FC being a quality team with quality players at their disposal.
"It's necessary to prepare, we have one week before the match. It's a very important match because it's knockouts, we've to be ready with the mentality and to be fresh because one mistake can cause problems. It's important to work on psychology and not make mistakes. We have to take control of the match because we know Odisha FC have quality players, quality foreigners and they have a good squad. It's necessary to prepare for the match because we want to be in the semi-finals," Ferrando said.
Dimitri Petratos was accompanied by Ferrando in the post-match press conference. The Australian scored the second goal in the derby, securing three points for Ferrando's men. Petratos talked about the derby being a special match for the team and urged the fans to support the team in the playoffs.
‘This win is for the fans.’— ATK Mohun Bagan FC (@atkmohunbaganfc) February 25, 2023
Dimi Petratos sums up tonight’s win vs East Bengal 💚♥️#ATKMohunBagan #JoyMohunBagan #আমরাসবুজমেরুন pic.twitter.com/edZLJOX6wN
"Every game is important, the derby is a little bit more special. Everybody played a good game, worked hard and we gave the fans something to celebrate tonight. I hope they are happy and they come to the next game and support us. We need people to come and be the 12th man," Petratos said in the post-match press conference.
The 30-year-old has been the torchbearer for ATK Mohun Bagan with nine goals and seven assists in 19 matches. Petratos expressed his pleasure with the way the season has gone for him.
"This is my job, I go out and give my best in every game be it scoring goals or giving assists, this is my objective. To give my best and win the game. I'm happy how the season has gone till now and we've few more games now, important games and we've to do our best," Petratos concluded.