ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando was surprised with his team’s performance in the second half as the Mariners went down 2-1 against Bengaluru FC in the latest fixture of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Sunday.

The game seemed to be heading for a stalemate as both teams lacked confidence in the final third. The first half saw both teams creating some half-goalscoring opportunists but there weren’t any clear-cut chances for any teams to capitalize on.

The second half was following a similar path until the 77th minute. Roshan Naorem whipped in a delicious ball which Javi Hernandez volleyed into the back of the net with a perfectly-timed strike. Roy Krishna extended the lead for the visitors in the 90th minute. Dimitri Petratos reduced the deficit with a screamer in the 93rd minute but it was not enough to earn them a point from the game.

Inconsistency continued for ATK Mohun Bagan as they have now faced three defeats in their last six games. They are currently fourth in the points table with 27 points from 16 games. 

Ferrando was unhappy with the performance of his team and felt that his side lacked confidence.

“When we had opportunities, we were simply not confident enough,” Ferrando said in the post-match press conference.

“The team knows the plan but they gave away possessions cheaply. I was really surprised to see the team scared after 62-63 minutes and I don’t know why!” he added.

The home side were without Hugo Boumous and Ashique Kuruniyan and the likes of Liston Colaco, Manvir Singh and Federico Gallego failed to live up to the occasion. The Spanish head coach reiterated his disappointment when asked about the performance of Liston Colaco.

“The team was moving out of the game slowly. So, it’s not about just one or two players. I am disappointed with the performance of the whole team,” Ferrando stated.

Roy Krishna came back to haunt the Mariners as he proved a point to his former coach with a goal against his side. The Fijian was not in Ferrando’s plan and was not retained for this season. But Ferrando feels it was their mistake to give away the opportunity in that situation.

“The goal he (Roy Krishna) scored was our mistake. It was totally unnecessary to concede that goal. The team needs to improve from the youth level. In India, you need to work as a team and try to improve as a team,” said the head coach.

The home side was reluctant to make any substitutions in the game. He waited until the 85th minute when he brought in Fardin Ali Molla and Kiyan Nassiri in place of Asish Rai and Glan Martins. The Spaniard revealed that the players were nursing injuries and he had no other options.

“Some players had problems with their muscles. They were only ready for a maximum of 20 minutes. And sometimes it is best to use young players at the right moment when the team is performing well. Then they will play with more confidence,” he explained.

Bengaluru FC, on the other hand, registered their fifth straight victory in the campaign. With their first victory against ATK Mohun Bagan, they climbed up to the 6th position. Ferrando shed light on the Blues' performance.

“Bengaluru FC are following the same plan since the Durand Cup. They are working on the same model and maybe that’s the reason they’re progressing,” he said.

ATK Mohun Bagan are now only four points ahead of seventh-placed Odisha FC with only four matches left. The 42-year-old insists that this sort of situation is quite normal for him and rather he emphasised the importance of preparing for the last four games.

“There is pressure in every game. So, the pressure is normal for us. But for me, it is to get the results and follow the process. I’m disappointed with the result but now we need to focus on the remaining games,” Ferrando concluded.