Juan Ferrando – The game against Kerala Blasters is like a final for us


ATK Mohun Bagan are placed second in the league table with 29 points in 15 matches. They are level on points with Hyderabad FC at the top of the table, having played a game less than them. The Mariners won 2-0 against FC Goa in their last match. A brace from Manvir Singh bagged the three points for his team. They are now 11 games unbeaten in the league.

On the other hand, opponents Kerala Blasters FC sit on the fourth spot in the ISL standings. Kerala Blasters will be looking to push on further up the table with a victory over the last year’s finalists. The Blasters won 1-0 against SC East Bengal courtesy of defender Enes Spiovic’s header.

ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando addressed the media ahead of their game against Kerala Blasters FC on Saturday, 19th February at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco, Goa from 7:30 PM IST.

Juan Ferrando - The game against Kerala Blasters is like a final for us FzIiIgQQoD 1

Below are his excerpts from the press conference.

You don’t have the full squad available but in the meantime, other players have been stepping up. How much confidence are the players getting from these victories?

“In the end, it’s the job of the coaching staff to help all the players to be ready. I think it’s good. In our case, we are playing with Sandesh (Jhingan) and Prabir (Das) but Ashutosh (Mehta) and Subhasish (Bose) are ready. I am upset because sometimes the performances are not 100%. But it’s the same for everybody, quarantine, and no training sessions. Everybody is more or less okay but everybody has a little issue so the performance is not good.”

ATK Mohun Bagan are now unbeaten in 11 games. Juan spoke about how confident he is of winning the game against Kerala Blasters FC.

“To be honest, I am thinking about winning the games and never about the record. We want to win the league then it’s necessary to win all the games. It’s necessary to win and it’s the same against Kerala Blasters FC. They are more or less in the same position as us. They have a great opportunity to win the league and to be in the playoffs. The game is maybe one final.”

Juan Ferrando - The game against Kerala Blasters is like a final for us

In the game against FC Goa, the team didn’t give any space to Gaurs’ midfielders. Ferrando spoke about it and if there will be a similar approach in the game against the Blasters.

“Every game is different. Of course, our plan will be different against Kerala Blasters FC. It’s a different game, we need to change some details of the plan, and the second reason is because of the moment. When we played against FC Goa, we only had more or less one day to prepare. In the case of the Kerala Blasters FC game, we have one more day so we can change some details about opening up and our press. I hope the plan will be better tomorrow.

Everybody knows about the quality of Jorge (Pereyra Diaz), (Adrian) Luna. They are a very confident team. They have one plan and they continue working on it, doesn’t matter what’s the score.”

Although the Mariners are winning, the attackers are failing to convert many easy chances. Juan spoke about it and if there might be a problem in the big games.

“No, it’s not a problem because, in the end, finishing is about details. Step by step when the players are confident when the performance is better. The performances are not the best because we are playing games every 45 hours. In the last moments when you need to be fresh for finishing, that is the problem. The players need oxygen because they are tired and exhausted. The problem is not having chances but we have chances. Now we need to improve on the last part.”

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The Finnish international Joni Kauko has proven to be the main protagonist in the Bagan midfield with the entire gameplan surrounding his movements in the last few games.

“I am very happy for Joni Kauko because when he was on the bench he helped the team for 10-20 minutes and he is very professional. It is pleasure to have a player like him because in the end rest of the team follows him.”

The Spanish gaffer stressed that the team is not focusing on milestones or records and their only goal is to win the league.

“I am thinking about it every game and never think about records. To be honest, we want to win the league and it is necessary to win all the games. It is our dream to be at the top of the table. But it is important to focus on tomorrow’s game and try to do our best. In the end, we just want to get the three points.”

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