The team showed a good attitude tonight: Mohun Bagan SG's Antonio Habas
The Mariners move to fourth position with three points against Hyderabad FC.
Mohun Bagan Super Giant head coach Antonio Lopez Habas expressed his satisfaction as his side got back to winning ways defeating Hyderabad FC at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, in Kolkata, on Saturday.
The Mariners put on a spirited display from the very first whistle. Two first-half goals, one from Anirudh Thapa and one from Jason Cummings put them in control before the halftime break. The visitors also had their chances, but they failed to compose themselves in the opposition's box.
3 points in the bag! Joy Mohun Bagan! 💪💚♥️— Mohun Bagan Super Giant (@mohunbagansg) February 10, 2024
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Mohun Bagan SG created several more opportunities in the second half, but a lack of precision in the final third restricted the scoreline to 2-0. Habas is happy to secure three points after four games, but he feels his side needs more composure in the final third.
“We had three points a long time ago. I think that we had many chances to have a big result and the team had a good performance, good attitude,” Habas said in the post-match press conference.
“But only one thing which was not good (today) is the precision in the last minute in the box. But, now it is very important for us to recover the players for the next match against FC Goa,” he added.
Finnish midfielder Joni Kauko made his first appearance since November 2022 as he came on as a substitute in the second half. Academy graduate Dippendu Biswas also made his debut appearance in the ISL.
“The participation of Joni Kauko is very important for us now and the three players from the academy put on a fantastic performance. They have a good future,” Habas stated.
Mohun Bagan SG have replaced Hugo Boumous with Kauko for the remainder of the season. Habas acknowledges that the Finnish midfielder is yet to reach full match fitness and wants to give him time to get there.
“We think about the possibility of playing (him for around) 30 minutes. But he played 35 minutes approximately. We don't want to hurry with him because he hasn’t played for over a year. But he is fit and I absolutely trust in him,” the Spaniard commented.
Kauko's presence in midfield will provide more freedom for other players. His versatility will help the coach make decisions accordingly as they aim to build on this momentum and secure as many points as possible from the upcoming matches.
“The team needed one player who has a character like Joni Kauko. We needed one player with this character in the centre midfielder department,” he said.
“I think Kauko can play as a centre midfielder, wide midfielder, and also as a playmaker. We have the possibility to play him in three or four positions in the midfield. It's very important for us,” Habas added.
The Mariners face FC Goa next on Wednesday. Coach Habas offered injury updates on key players ahead of their clash against the Gaurs. Following their suspensions, the trio of Deepak Tangri, Armando Sadiku, and Liston Colaco will be available for selection.
“It is in the hands of the doctors, but we have the possibility to recover Asish (Rai). Anwar (Ali) I don't know, because we have only three days (before we play against FC Goa), and (Brendan) Hamill I think will not be ready,” he shared.
“But (Deepak) Tangri, (Armando) Sadiku and Liston Colaco will all be back after suspension. So, we will have the possibility to have four players more. It's very important for us because the team will be more competitive if we take them into account,” Habas concluded.