We have to be focused for 90 minutes: ATK Mohun Bagan's Juan Ferrando
ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando expressed his belief in the team to fight for the League Winners Shield till the end as they gear up to face Chennaiyin FC in Matchweek 16 of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Chennai, on Saturday.
The visitors are coming into the match after a difficult run of results where Juan Ferrando's men have collected four points in the last four matches. Meanwhile, Chennaiyin FC would be looking for their first win in the last five matches. The Marina Machans have collected three draws and one loss in the last four matches. Ferrando shed light on the team's preparations ahead of the clash against Chennaiyin FC and talked about the plans they intend to implement in every game.
"The plan is to keep the ball, we will try to attack the spaces, and try to find players between the lines because in this case, the team is ready to follow the same process. To not change our way and methodology but of course, change the details from the last match because it's different, Chennaiyin FC is different from Mumbai City FC. The first and second leg against Mumbai City FC was totally different and then we changed some details and prepared for the match on Saturday because it's a difficult match for us and playing away is never easy," Ferrando said in the official pre-match conference.
Chennaiyin FC would be looking to do the double over Juan Ferrando's men. The Marina Machans won the reverse fixture with a comeback after goals from Kwame Karikari and Rahim Ali. Ferrando spoke about Chennaiyin FC's quality as a team and how the fixture is going to be a test for them.
"I think everybody knows about Chennaiyin FC. They have quality players, good players and sometimes the performance of these players is good and they make the right decision. This is the reason why they were able to take points off Hyderabad FC. They lose matches in detail, for me, Chennaiyin FC is a strong and good team. I think it's very necessary to take control because the individual actions of the players are amazing. We know it's going to be a difficult match for us and we have to be focused for 90 minutes," he added.
The Mariners sit in the fourth position in the Hero ISL points table with seven victories, two draws and four losses. The ATK Mohun Bagan head coach expressed his belief in the team and expects them to fight till the last match of the league season to finish as high as possible in the Hero ISL points table.
"Of course if it is possible mathematically then it's possible (winning the League Shield). The reality doesn't depend on us but we are professional people and we are fighting till the last moment. If the players don't accept this then they are out of the team, this is the truth. I have trust in this team because in every difficult moment, after difficult injuries the team showed character. In our case we can change anything," he said.
ATK Mohun Bagan will be aiming for their sixth victory at home and with the three points against Chennaiyin FC, the Mariners can leapfrog Kerala Blasters FC to the third position in the Hero ISL points table. Ferrando expressed how the team is working hard for the fans and fighting for the wins.
"The fans, they know about us, they know that we are working hard. They know that we are preparing the team because we know this is a big club. Of course, we are disappointed because in some matches the results are not in our favour. We are disappointed as well but the most important thing is not to think about the emotions instead it is to wake up the next day and know that it's possible. We have to continue working, this is life and this is football," Ferrando said.
Ferrando was accompanied by new signing Lalthathanga Khawlhring (Puitea) in the official pre-match conference. The midfielder talked about how he has settled into a new club after signing from Kerala Blasters FC and the challenges ahead.
"It's good, I haven't been here long but overall, my experience has been good. It's been an honour playing for ATK Mohun Bagan, it's one of the biggest clubs in India. The most important thing is the team so I think we can do better. We are creating many chances, if we lose then we need to improve," Puitea expressed.
The 24-year-old played 45 minutes for the Mariners in his first appearance for the club against Mumbai City FC. Puitea believes that he's under no pressure of representing one of the biggest clubs in India because pressure is a part of football.
"Football is about pressure, it's about how you handle the pressure. Of course, i feel the pressure but in a good instead of taking it negatively. I use the pressure as an advantage so I dont feel anything different. I'm continuing to do my work and I want to help the team also," he added.