When you play at home, it's easier: ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando

ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando revealed it's easier to play matches at home than away and he hopes that his team can successfully execute their plan when they face Bengaluru FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Saturday.

The Mariners beat Hyderabad FC in their previous fixture and currently sit fourth in the Hero ISL standings while opponents Bengaluru FC are placed ninth. Since their defeat to Chennaiyin FC in their opening game of the season at the VYBK Stadium, ATK Mohun Bagan have secured three straight wins at home. However, the Mariners have only managed to secure one win on the road this season.

Ferrando, who attended the pre-match press conference alongside forward Liston Colaco, said he was keen to improve his team's position on the table and his target was to help them qualify for the AFC Champions League next season. The ATKMB head coach further mentioned that he wants to contribute towards the development of his players, on and off the pitch.

Here are the excerpts from Ferrando's press conference:

Are you happy with the team’s position on the table?

Of course, not. We are thinking all the time to be in a better position. We want to be on top of the table. This is our mentality, but every match, it’s necessary to work. Everybody knows about the situation at this moment. Six-seven teams are very close (on the Hero ISL table) and the difference in points is very minimal. It’s necessary to continue working and get three points every game. We want to improve and fight until the last moment. We’ll see what happens in the next month.

ATK Mohun Bagan beat Hyderabad FC in their previous match. How confident are you that your team can build on this win?

This season has been difficult for all teams as we play home and away. In our case, when we played away, the first halves were difficult. Then, step by step, the team gains confidence. When you play at home, it's easier because you have supporters and the team has played a lot of matches on this ground. For us, each week is a different history. We play against a good team on Saturday and it’s important to be ready and I hope we have success in our plan.

Any injury updates?

(Joni) Kauko and (Florentin) Pogba are still out. We’ll see some players who will be fit in the upcoming days. Dimitrios (Petratos) has joined the team and he is working. This is good news. We’ll evaluate his fitness and see if he can help the team.

I can talk a lot about Bengaluru FC. They have a good squad. Their keeper (Gurpreet Singh Sandhu), (Sunil) Chhetri, (Roy) Krishna, (Sandesh) Jhingan, Javi (Hernandez). The squad of Bengaluru FC is among the top three in this league. They have a plan and like all teams, they are games when you face success and no success. They won the Durand Cup. Except for two matches, I think their performance was good so far because all their players have been working in the same way.

Bengaluru FC have a lot of players who have played for ATK Mohun Bagan. Is that an advantage for them?

I don’t think so because they have a different plan. If they were in a different team, but had the same plan as us, it would have been an advantage. At this moment, our plan is different from what they have. Saturday will be a clash of two different styles, two methodologies, two different points of view about football. And I hope that our plan is better and we can get the three points.

With the World Cup going on, have you come across a system or strategy that you might want to implement in the future?

For us as a staff, it’s important to improve the club, the players and the team. It’s necessary to work in details everyday about the strategy, methodologies and everything else. This is our plan. In front of the supporters, we have only been talking about the results and it’s normal. Our mentality is to win the matches. But for me what is important is that the level of the players is improving day by day, like a team. It’s important that this club and team plays with one plan in the same way, and in every game. When we play here or in the AFC Champions League, everyone should know the personality and the methodology of this club. This is the most important thing, but you need time. One big example is that of Manchester City FC. They have been working for seven-eight years (with the same coach). More or less, everybody recognises the team.

Of course, we change some details, but sometimes for me it’s important to change more things but it’s difficult. It’s difficult because you change the mentality, change the culture. It’s necessary to help the players about what happened on the field and the things outside the field - diet, rest, mental health, etc. There are a lot of details and it’s not so easy.

In my point of view, you need to improve the club and then take it forward. But when everyone is working in the same way, you try to improve the club and the academy. If we try to help them, we will have success in the future. But step by step, day by day, it’s important not to lose focus and work in the same way.

Will you be looking to sign some players in the January transfer window?

I’m very happy with my squad and my players. My personal target for next season is to make it to the AFC Champions League. But for me, it’s not necessary to find big names or players, my squad is perfect. I’m disappointed because it’s not possible for Joni (Kauko), (Florentin) Pogba, and Tiri to help the team but in my point of view, I believe I have the best players.

 

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