We can beat NorthEast United FC if we give our hundred percent: Habas ahead of first leg

ATK Mohun Bagan take on NorthEast United FC in the first leg of Semi-final 2 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Saturday. The Mariners were on the losing side the last time these two teams met earlier in the season, and their head coach Antonio Lopez Habas knows better than to take them lightly.

“NorthEast United FC have had a very good season in the Hero ISL. They are a very difficult team [to play against] because they have good players in the defence as well as the middle of the park and in attack. I hope that my players also have a good performance, and we can beat them if we give our 100%. They are a balanced team and [interim head coach] Khalid Jamil is doing a good job,” the Spaniard said at the pre-match press conference.

Earlier this month, a surge in form saw ATK Mohun Bagan move to the top of the league standings but they couldn’t finish it off in style and eventually lost the spot and the Hero ISL League Winners Shield to Mumbai City FC on the last day of the league stage.

However, Habas is more focused on the positives ahead of this crucial fixture than brood over that lost opportunity. “Life and football continue, and we think about the positives only now. We have spent a lot of time at the hotel with no families and we have to remain positive. Our idea is to win the Hero ISL, and after that, we can return to our families,” said Habas.

“We are not nervous, because before the last two matches, we won five straight games. This is football. I can't blame my defence because of those two matches [2-2 draw against Hyderabad FC and 2-0 loss to Mumbai City FC],” the 63-year-old head coach added.

Habas also urged ATK Mohun Bagan fans to be proud of the side’s performances this season. “They have to be proud of the team, because they have given their maximum. On the final day of the league stage, Mumbai City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan had 40 points each [and Mumbai City FC took the top spot only on the basis of accumulating more points against the Mariners over the course of the league stage],” he said.


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