ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando was pleased and very proud of his team as they topped Group D after defeating Maldives’ Maziya Sports and Recreation Club by a 5-2 scoreline in their third and final match of AFC Cup 2022 group stage at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday.

Match Report: AFC Cup 2022: ATK Mohun Bagan register comfortable victory over Maziya S&RC to qualify for Inter-Zonal Semi-Finals

Joni Kauko scored twice while Roy Krishna, Subhasish Bose, and Carl McHugh all got on the act to make it an impressive scoreline for ATKMB. Pedro Placeres struck twice to save Maziya from a complete washout.

This result sent the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) outfit to the Inter-Zone Semi-finals for the second successive season.

Ferrando addressed the media during the pre-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from the press conference:

How do you describe your team’s performance?

I'm happy for the players and our supporters. Because in the last six days we read a lot of bad words about the club. I read some news that was very disappointing. But this club is a big club because we have respect for the opponents. In the end, the best way to reply to them is by playing good football, not in press conferences.

You have proved that ATK Mohun Bagan is the best club in this group. How do you feel?

Of course, we are, because, in the end, we finished in the first position. To be honest, if you check all the stats, you’ll get the answer. The most important thing is that we have respect for our opponents. Some people have no respect for other clubs. And it is not good because football is an amazing game it should be enjoyed.

Also Read: I’m at my best when I play further up the pitch, says ATK Mohun Bagan’s Joni Kauko after Maziya win

Now you’re out of the group stage of the AFC Cup and into the next stage. Do you have any specific targets in mind going ahead?

Yeah, of course, a lot of points. But now it's time to rest and we have time to think about the last two or three games. This competition is amazing because it's an international competition and you learn a lot. Because the opponents are of the highest quality and they try their best. It is necessary to take time now to think and prepare for the next rounds because it will be more difficult.

The problem in a competition like this is that happens between seasons, and teams often change. How hopeful are you of being able to retain the core of this team?

Yeah, I know this is how it goes in football. This is the future, but we’ll surely talk about this tomorrow and prepare for the future. But I hope a lot of players will continue with us. I hope we continue to work in the same way. My job is to help them and day by day to improve in a lot of areas in attack and defense. Because I think game by game their performance is getting better.