We have a lot of respect for Jamshedpur FC: ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Ferrando

ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando stated he has full respect for opponents Jamshedpur FC and that he won’t take them lightly when the two sides clash in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, in Kolkata, on Thursday.

The Mariners are placed fourth in the Hero ISL standings and a win against the defending League Winners Shield holders will see them go level on points with Hyderabad FC, who are placed second. Meanwhile, Jamshedpur FC will be desperate to turn around their fortunes after five defeats on the spin.

Ferrando, who was accompanied by midfielder Carl McHugh in the pre-match press conference, said the Mariners need to be fully focused when they go up against the Red Miners. He also stressed on the importance of changing some details while facing different opponents and stated that ATK Mohun Bagan can improve offensively.

Here are the excerpts from Ferrando:

Jamshedpur FC are not in a good form at the moment. Are you going to give some chances to your players who have not featured much this season?

This team won the League Winners Shield last season and we have a lot of respect for them. Of course, they have a good squad. Except for three-four players (who left last season), the squad is more or less the same. It’s necessary to pay full attention because it is a difficult match and I am not thinking that it is going to be an easy match. It’s necessary to control the details. Lately, their performance has not exactly been the best, but they drew against Mumbai City FC. They lost some matches due to small details. It’s not going to be an easy match.

Do you think your team can better last season’s position?

We will see. It’s important to try to do our best game by game. To try to improve in some details every game. Here in India, every match is different because sometimes the teams change some details and it’s necessary to change. But the main focus is on my team. My target is to improve my team, we can improve in offensive details. In the end, we want to get the three points.

How is Manvir Singh’s condition?

He is working all the time with our physiologists and doctors. We will see. We will decide the line up on Thursday morning.

The team did not perform well against FC Goa, but won against Hyderabad FC. Against Bengaluru FC, you were not happy with the team’s performance. Do you think lack of consistency is a major concern for your team?

They are different matches. We are not happy with the performance against FC Goa because we had some problems in transitions. Against Bengaluru FC, it was not an easy match because we played away and Bengaluru FC have a good squad. For us, it was very good, the way we worked in defence. Of course, we need to improve in some details in transitions. But this is our target, to be regular in all the games, try to do the best; but sometimes the opponents have different plans and they are much better in some points. It is not so easy. All the teams in the world have problems in some games. Of course, it is important to be consistent all season but sometimes it is not possible. It is necessary to accept the plan and change some details.

What are the key points that will help the team maintain consistency?

A lot of players don’t have much experience in the academies and when they reach the first team and are playing professional leagues, they need to improve in these details. I talk about the same in training, when it’s an hour or so, some players are finished. It’s necessary to improve. One day, when the league has 20 teams and 38 games a season, it will be difficult. But this is the target for the staff and the foreign players, to help the (Indian) players and work in the same way and to be focused for 90 minutes.

Three-four seasons ago, there were high-scoring games and there’s a reason; because the players were not focused for 90 minutes. Now the results are very tight. Season by season, the players are more focused and their role. Step by step, they are much better. It’s not easy but we can improve in these details. Will be much better for Indian football and Indian players. In the end, the result is for the national team and for all the Indian leagues.

Here are the excerpts from McHugh:

You have spent the past few seasons in India. How do you rate the Hero ISL and the Indian players?

I think the league has improved gradually since I have been here. This is my fourth season and I feel it definitely has improved. The league standard has gotten better as well as the standard of coaches. The league is longer now and it has more games. The standard of the local players is improving as well, but I feel there is a lot of scope for improvement in Indian football moving forward. There are a lot of areas, but there definitely has been an improvement in the past few years.

In the absence of Joni Kauko, how much added responsibility do you have?

Joni is a brilliant player and one of the best in the league. He has shown that since he has been here and for me, I just got to do what I have been doing. So I got to give my best for the team. We are very different players but I’m going to contribute the best I can to the team moving forward. It’s great to be back in the team for the last few games. We have had positive results, but we will definitely miss Joni. We can only wish him well for his recovery.

In terms of pressure, how different is it when you play in front of fans?

I think it’s brilliant to have fans back. It is so much better as a player and there is such a better atmosphere. It feels like a proper, professional game. The last two seasons were difficult as matches were being played behind closed doors. The atmosphere wasn’t the same and it felt like reserve games, at times. Of course, there is pressure but the pressure of playing professional football is a privilege. It’s a privilege to be able to play in front of supporters. We are at a big club and we have to deal with the pressure of playing in front of a big crowd. That’s part of playing for a big club over here. Everyone in Indian football has to be happy that we’re back in a normal season, with the home and away games. There’s another element this season. It’s difficult for teams to go away from home with the travelling and stuff, so there are a lot of variables. It is definitely great for the league.

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