We need to be consistent while defending: ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Antonio Lopez Habas

ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Antonio Lopez Habas urged his team to find the right balance while defending, ahead of their match against Chennaiyin FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Fatorda, on Saturday.

The Mariners kickstarted their campaign on a high, having won back-to-back matches against Kerala Blasters FC and arch-rivals SC East Bengal. But, they suffered a 1-5 loss to Mumbai City FC in the third game, before Jamshedpur FC also edged past them 1-2 in the previous encounter.

Habas addressed the media in the pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s game:

Here are the excerpts from the press conference:

What was your message to the team after the back-to-back losses against Mumbai City FC and Jamshedpur FC?

We have to increase our confidence. For me, my players are the best in the world and I have to give them confidence for the rest of their career. This is a very very hard competition, because the last two years we had quarantine and we were inside a bio-bubble, it is a very difficult situation for a professional. And, in this situation, we have to demonstrate that we are the best.

You have Roy Krishna and Hugo Boumous in the attacking zone but the team is failing to score goals, do you think it is a psychological issue?

It’s all about balance. In the first two matches, we scored seven goals and we were like the best team in the world, but, we did not score that many in the next two matches, we are like the worst team in the world - it does not happen like that. It is not possible to go from becoming the best club in the world to the worst club in the world, within just 10 days.

ATK Mohun Bagan have lost the last two matches, do you think the team needs to work on the defence?

We have to find that balance in different matches and different times in a match. Because we can’t defend well for 45 minutes and then keep it loose for the next 45 minutes. We have to find the ideal situation for competing.

What are your views on Chennaiyin FC ahead of the game?

Chennaiyin FC is a competitive team, they have good foreigners and competitive players. They are good physically and it will be a difficult match, because Chennaiyin FC does not concede too many goals. I think it would be a competitive match.

We haven’t seen much of wing play from ATK Mohun Bagan this season, what are your views on that?

In my opinion, we have played well in the flanks in crucial moments. It’s just that the opponents also have good players in the left-back and right-back positions. They also don’t want us to play good football in the wings continuously in the match. I am not worried about the situation.

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