We won't change our approach for semi-final: ATK Mohun Bagan's Juan Ferrando
ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando is trusting their way of playing and said that it will yield the desired result in the first leg of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 semi-final fixture as Hyderabad FC host ATK Mohun Bagan at the G.M.C Balayogi Athletic Stadium, in Hyderabad on Thursday.
ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando is will trust their way of playing and said that it would yield the desired result in the first leg of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 semi-final fixture as Hyderabad FC host ATK Mohun Bagan at the GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium in Hyderabad on Thursday.
ATK Mohun Bagan finished the league stage in third position with 34 points, including 10 wins. A win against Odisha FC in knockout game assured the Marines a third consecutive semi-final appearances in the Hero ISL history. Coming into this semi-final fixture, ATK Mohun Bagan have hit fine form, having won the last three matches including the Kolkata derby. Their last defeat in the league stage was against Hyderabad FC in Hyderabad in February. So, fans were expecting a different tactic this time but the ATKMB head coach explained that they won't change their plan in the semi-final against Hyderabad FC.
"Our plan is the same all the time, the team will try to concentrate on attack and control the spaces on attack. Our plan is the same for semi-final or even in finals, yes it is necessary to control the transition against Hyderabad FC because everybody knows what (Mohammad) Yasir, (Akash) Mishra or Joel (Chianese) are capable of. But our approach is the same all the time, try to keep the ball, progress in buildup, to be in the correct position to attack, control the space and time. This is the same plan throughout the season and some details may change but won't change the whole plan," Ferrando said in the pre-match press conference.
When these two teams met in the league stage, both got their home victory with a 1-0 scoreline. Hugo Boumous gave a win in Kolkata, whereas Bartholomew Ogbeche's late goal ensured the three points for Hyderabad FC. Ogbeche also scored against the Mariners in the first leg of last season's semi-final. No other player in Hero ISL has scored (5) more goals against the Mariners than Ogbeche. Ferrando acknowledged the threat possessed by Ogbeche but doesn't want to focus on a single player rather concentrate on the whole team.
"We aren't worried about one single player but (our focus) is on the whole team. Of course, Ogbeche is a very good player and very good scorer, not only this season, but for the last four seasons for many different teams. But our focus is on the team because we play 11 vs 11, so it's very important to control a lot of things. It takes one opportunity for both teams to reach the final," he added.
"We never focus on only one player and they (HFC) are in the semi-final, which is not the result of one player. A team would reach the semi-final because a lot of players are working well and the players work in the same plan. Ofcourse, both teams want to be in Goa on 18th of March. But at this moment, we are thinking about our plan, our team, our players and trusting our way, I hope we will be in the final after these two matches," the Spaniard said.
This semi-final fixture is the repeat of last season's semi-final matches where Juan Ferrando and Marquez went against each other and each got a victory in the home leg. At the end, Marquez's side qualified for the final with a better aggregate score of 3-2, thanks to the 3-1 home victory of Hyderabad FC. Ferrando recollected the incident and cautioned the importance of the first leg of the semi-final as it could decide the results of the whole semi-final fixture.
"These two-legged semi-final have 180 minutes to play, it's very important to control a lot of details. It's impossible to reach the final after the first match but it is important to control the details in the first match itself because you may lose the semi-final in the first leg itself. For example, in the last season, it was difficult for us to (come back) after the 3-1 defeat against Hyderabad FC in the first leg. So It's important to get (some points) in the first leg itself," he added.
Hugo Boumous, the ATKMB's number 10, was accompanied by Ferrando in the pre-match press conference. Boumous missed few important matches this season but now he is peaking at the right time after recovering from an injury. This season, the midfield has scored five goals and has five assists to his name. The Frenchman was aware of the past season's loss against Hyderabad FC in the semi-final but confident to change the fortune this time.
"It's a new game and a new season. But we knew what happened in the last season, where we lost the semi-final. Of course, for us it was quite difficult not to reach the final last time, now it's up to us to beat them and reach the final, this season. We know we have the quality to do it. But we have respect for the opponent as well, as they finished the league stage in the second position and they have quality players so it's going to be a tough match," he added.
Boumous scored the winning goal against Hyderabad FC in Kolkata in the league stage and also opened the account for the home side in the knockout game against Odisha FC. Boumous has been with the club since 2021 and is looking forward to getting the silverware for the Mariners this season.
"As long as I am stepping on the pitch, I'm trying to give my best and to give my 100%. I tried to do that throughout the season, Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't buy I won't change my mind, I love football. As I said already, every time I step on the pitch, I give my 100% for the team, for ATK Mohun Bagan. I will do that in the next couple of games as well," he concluded.