There was belief in the team to go for the win: Mohun Bagan SG’s Antonio Habas
Mohun Bagan Super Giant head coach Antonio Habas shared his thoughts after his side secured a draw against East Bengal FC in the Kolkata Derby.
Mohun Bagan Super Giant was pleased with the attitude of his team in the Kolkata Derby as they battled back to secure a draw against East Bengal FC in the Indian Super League (ISL).
In a thrilling encounter at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday, both sides played out an exhilarating draw with drama unfolding until the final whistle.
East Bengal FC initially took the lead with a goal from Ajay Chhetri, but Mohun Bagan SG quickly responded through Armando Sadiku. The Red & Golds regained the lead with a penalty converted by Cleiton Silva, only for the Mariners to equalise for the second time with a late goal from Dimitri Petratos.
While the result extended Mohun Bagan SG's unbeaten streak against their arch-rivals in the ISL, it wasn't an easy feat. Despite their comeback for a draw, the Mariners faced numerous challenges, including injuries. Anwar Ali suffered an early blow in the first half, and Brendan Hamill, who assisted Sadiku's goal, also picked up an injury in the second half, making way for Glan Martins.
Habas also revealed that midfielder Deepak Tangri had to be substituted in the second half owing to an injury. However, he commended the team's morale, expressing pride in their resilience as they tried to stage a comeback despite the setbacks.
“It was difficult for us (dealing with injuries) because we had to change the defensive line four times. I feel that the direction of today’s match was perfect for the technical staff. One injury, and another injury. (Deepak) Tangri had a problem (in the second half). We changed the defenders, our two centre backs (Anwar Ali and Brendan Hamill),” Habas said in the post-match press conference.
“For me the most important (thing) is the attitude of the team today. There (was) belief in the squad, belief in the team to go for the win. This was the most important (for me).”
This was Habas’ first game in charge of the team since his appointment as head coach in January. Prior to this game, the Mariners, under former head coach Juan Ferrando, had encountered three consecutive defeats in the league, impacting their standing on the league table.
Habas encouraged the supporters to remain steadfast in their support for the team. Additionally, he expressed delight once again with the team's positive attitude in the derby.
“We need to be together - the players, staff and the supporters. Because I don't understand football when supporters are on one side and the team is on the other. We are only one - Mohun Bagan (SG). Nothing more. Today, we felt the presence of the fans. For me the best possible way to play is to win, (but today) no win or loss. For me the most important thing today is the attitude of the team in continuing and wanting to win the match,” the Spaniard said.