The stage all set for the celebrated Kolkata derby for the clash between ATK Mohun Bagan and East Bengal in the Indian Super League with East Bengal playing their debut ISL match against arch-rivals. The rivalry between the two Kolkata clubs dates back to over a hundred years and it is one of the oldest derby matches in world football.
ATK Mohun Bagan’s head coach, Antonio Habbas addressed the press ahead of the clash with the men in gold and red. Here is what he had to say.
On being asked about East Bengal playing their first match against ATK MB, which already played a match this season “For me, there is no advantage for both side. Maybe it’s good for us to have played the first match and not good for East Bengal. Maybe it’s better for East Bengal that we don’t know their team. We have to accept the competition as to how it is.“
Gaffer also replied to the question which asked about the pressure of the historical derby match, he said, “We are trying our best to play the match as attractive as possible. I don’t know what will the final score but I know that this match matters the most to the supporters. The pressure isn’t on one side but is on both sides to prove ourselves in the field as a team.“
Speaking about the team’s performance, Habas said, “We have to see that players have returned on the field after a long break of 7 months, so it’s acceptable that they have made mistakes in the last match against Kerala Blasters but I am happy that they are trying their best to improve and perform as good as possible.“
“The scoring chances are not only created by strikers but it’s the team work. Strikers only can’t be hold in contempt for this. In the style of tactics we play, everyone’s role is important to lead the team to the win.” He added.
Many Indian players have experience of playing Kolkata derby earlier, on that note, Habas said, “Yes, I agree we have many Bengali as well as those players who earlier played the Kolkata derby, but this time the scenario is different. So here, the experience of an individual is important but more than that bonding as a team is much needed.“
“We are working hard across every department not only for the derby but also for the upcoming matches. Due to the pandemic situation, fans can’t attend the matches but it’s our responsibility to make them proud even at their homes.” Habas concluded the press conference leaving a message for the fans.