To exploit ATK Mohun Bagan’s weaknesses, we must be at our best: Chennaiyin FC head coach Thomas Brdaric

Chennaiyin FC head coach Thomas Brdaric said he is looking forward to beginning his journey in the Hero Indian Super League as he attempts to build a new Chennaiyin FC.

The Marina Machans take on ATK Mohun Bagan in their first game of the season at the Salt Lake stadium and Brdaric is looking forward to the game that will see the return of fans to the stadium in Kolkata.

The German head coach wants to build a team that will be aggressive and one which would take the game to their opponents even on their own patch.

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Brdaric and German midfielder Julius Duker addressed the media ahead of their match against ATK Mohun Bagan.

Here are the excerpts from Brdaric’s press conference:

You have been here for a long time and have played quite a few pre-season games. Does it give you an advantage?

Brdaric: The preparation time was quite long and we had a tough time while preparing for the Hero ISL season. We have our first match on Monday and we are prepared for it. I am very hungry for this match and for me as a coach we worked very closely on preparing the team strategy. ATK Mohun Bagan is the first match and the season is very long so we have to be prepared.

ATK Mohun Bagan supporters will be returning to the stadium after more than two years and how difficult will it be facing that crowd?

Brdaric: We are working very hard to play in front of spectators. I am very excited about the atmosphere, about the attendance. We don't know how many people will join our game. I enjoy playing in front of fans and this is what I tell my players that they should enjoy the games and implement the match plan.

There are 6-7 seven Bengali footballers in Chennaiyin FC Is it an added advantage for your team?

Brdaric: India for me is like a very big country, almost like a continent. We came here as foreigners. In the last three months, working with the Indian guys has been a pleasure. They are very polite, and modest and I like the attitude of players from this part (West Bengal).

We want to build a new Chennaiyin FC and Bengali players are a part of that.

What is your philosophy and how do you plan to get Chennaiyin FC back to the old heights?

Brdaric: I like offensive football, I like to score. this is what we want to implement in our game, but also how to defend. Both these aspects are very important in professional football. In modern football, you have to work on both aspects with fast transitions

How do you rate the opponent? Do you think they have the strongest team in Hero ISL on paper?

Brdaric: ATK Mohun Bagan are a huge club with a lot of achievements in Indian football in the past. It is special for me that my first match is against them in this big stadium.

I hope there are a lot of ATK Mohun Bagan fans in the stadium and let's hope we can all enjoy this match. Hopefully, we get a positive result.

ATK Mohun Bagan have been struggling defensively. What according to you is their weak link in defence?

Brdaric: It's difficult to figure out weak spots because on a high level you don't have too many weaknesses. We have to be at our best if we want to exploit the small weaknesses of the opponent. We have to be prepared and very attentive all the time against the ball and to understand in which parts of the zone you have to use the ball when you have it. You have to take advantage when the opponent makes mistakes.

Here are excerpts from Julius Duker’s press conference:

What are your expectations from the season?

Duker: Firstly, we want to start the season well. It's the most important thing. In the last few weeks, we train very hard and prepared very well for the game. We are very excited about the start of a very important season. So we will be motivated for Monday.

What is your take on Anirudh Thapa?

Duker: I think Anirudh Thapa is a very humble person but also as a footballer on the pitch he has a lot of quality. He is very important to me and to the team. The new players come to him and ask him (about everything. He is a very good player and an experienced player. He is our captain. I am excited to play with him and also the entire team.

What has been your experience so far playing with young Indian players?

Duker: This is my first time in Asia or India. The first few weeks were a bit hard due to the humidity. The food was very spicy but now everything is fine. I like this country and the people are very nice.

We have very good young players and they need to develop. We have a very nice mix of experienced and young players and I think it will be a very interesting season for us.

What aspect of Hero ISL are you most excited about?

Duker: I was watching a few games from the Hero ISL in the last two days and I think all the teams are maybe on the same level. So this season is very interesting for us. As I said already, we have a tough start but we want to go out and show the fans that we are strong enough to play against these teams.

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