ATK Mohun Bagan have been out of action for 17 days since their 2-2 draw against Hyderabad FC at the Fatorda Stadium. Since then, multiple players at the club have tested positive for COVID, resulting in the postponement of nothing less than 3 games – against Odisha, Bengaluru, and Kerala.
Head Coach Juan Ferrando answered questions from the press after a rescheduled fixture against Odisha FC was declared to be played on the 23rd.
Speaking about the difficult situation a host of clubs find themselves in after the COVID outbreak, Ferrando said, “At the moment, playing the games is difficult for everybody. It’s difficult to work with players in the bubble. We have to concentrate on ourselves, our plan, and do the best we can on the pitch in a difficult moment like this.”
David Williams starred in the last encounter against Hyderabad, scoring the quickest goal in the competition’s history with a sweet left foot striker and then assisting Joni Kauko with a cross later in the game. Hugo Boumous picked up his fourth yellow card of the campaign, ruling him out for the next match.
Regarding a potential Roy Krishna – David Williams partnership against the Juggernauts, Ferrando stated, “We’ll see. We will decide after the last training session tomorrow and what works best for the team.”
The return leg of the derby awaits us on 29th January at Fatorda, with SC East Bengal having picked up their first win of the season recently against FC Goa. Speaking about the sizzling affair, Ferrando opined, “This is the first time that I will be a part of a big derby.”
Ferrando on the Kolkata Derby
“It will be a pleasure to play against SC East Bengal. In quarantine, I read a lot about the derby and the history of our club, the football in Kolkata. It is upsetting that the game cannot be held in Kolkata, the feeling of the game will be missing, but it gives me 100% pleasure to be associated in a game like this.”
The Mariners were in hard quarantine for over a week after some players tested positive in the camp. Speaking about the repercussions of an elongated period of quarantine, the Coach stated, “I am very scared about the players returning from COVID. Firstly, there are health concerns, there is an excess risk of injury, the performance isn’t good. The second point is the psychological concerns. It’s not so easy being in quarantine, being locked up in a room for 24 hours, the timings of sleeping and eating changes, people can’t remain happy.”
Both Amrinder Singh and Avilash Paul had sustained injuries in the last couple of matches. Speaking about their fitness level and possible replacements, Juan said, “Yes, we have prepared a new goalkeeper because of the injury to Avilash. The club will inform about the new keeper. At the moment, I am working with Amrinder and Arsh and we are very happy with them. They are working hard.”
The match will go ahead as planned unless a new covid case arises. The kick-off time is 9:30 pm, after the Bengaluru vs Goa clash at 7:30 pm.
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