ATK Mohun Bagan who are placed 3rd on the points table face table-toppers Jamshedpur FC in the final league game of the 2021-22 Indian Super League on Monday at the Fatorda Stadium. Not only do the Mariners need to win the tie, but they also have to win it by two goals or more, if they want to win their maiden ISL League Winners Shield. Jamshedpur had won the first-leg tie 2-0 so anything less than two goals will mean that the Men of Steel will win their first-ever title in the club’s history.
Ahead of the all-important clash, ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando addressed the media during the pre-match press conference ahead of their game against Jamshedpur FC.
Talking about Monday’s game, the fact is that ATK Mohun Bagan has to win the game by two goals or more to win the League Winners Shield. Do you think that the situation makes it tougher for the players?
“No, I think it’s a good challenge. I think that if you want to win the championship, it is necessary to get three points every game. And this is our challenge, you know, to try to score some goals. This case, for me, is not the only time I am thinking about winning with more than a one-goal margin. We try to win 2-0, 3-0.
“I hope we have success, but, minute by minute, it is necessary to control the game. It’s not so easy, but to be honest it is a great opportunity because we are in the last game with one opportunity to get the trophy (League Winners Shield).”
Have you ever been in this kind of situation, where your team not only has to win but with a certain margin?
“I remember in 2015 it was necessary to win 5-0 to qualify for the playoffs of the (UEFA) Champions League. In the end, we won 5-0. Also, for the playoffs of the Europa League in 2014, it was necessary to win 2-0 and in the end, we won 2-0. For example, for the playoffs in Spain, it was very important to win at home 2-0, in the end, we won 2-0.
“A lot of time I was in this kind of situation, you know, but every game, every competition is different. I think it’s necessary to learn a lot and then at the end experience is important, but the most important is to make a good plan and try to help the players every minute.”
What do you think are the strongest points of Jamshedpur FC?
“I think everybody really knows. They have two center-backs with experience, including Peter Hartley. And they have Greg Stewart, whom I think is maybe the biggest recruit of this season because his performance was very good in all the games and he is a very good player. Their January signing of striker Daniel Chima Chukwu was a good move because he is a smart player.
“Then they also have Alex Lima. He is a good midfielder and then they have good wingers like Len (Doungel) They are working hard. There are a lot of (strong) points and in this case, with Pronay (Halder), I think there’s a balance in the team.”
How are you motivating your players ahead of the match? Are you treating this match as a knock-out final?
“Well, of course, we are motivated 100%. It’s a great challenge for us, you know for me, I’m happy because in the last game, until the last minute, until the last day, we have a great opportunity to win the championship (League Winners Shield). Of course, we have a lot of respect for Jamshedpur FC, but we need to focus on our job and I hope our plan will succeed in the end.”
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