After a sudden resignation by long-serving and experienced coach Antonio Lopez Habas amidst a poor run of results, ATK Mohun Bagan have appointed FC Goa gaffer Juan Ferrando as their new head coach. Since the Spaniard had not joined the Mariners camp yet, interim manager Manuel Cascallana is taking charge of the team.
Manuel Cascallana and assistant coach Bastab Roy addressed the media ahead of their game against NorthEast United FC on Tuesday, at the Fatorda Stadium. Below is the full transcript.
Do you think that the current situation impacts the performance of the team?
“I don’t think so, because since the coach is not here now, it’s the responsibility of the players to step up and give their best on the field. I trust my players, they are all professionals, and I hope that we will win the match.”
What areas do you think the team can still improve?
“We score a lot of goals but we need to stop conceding the goals as we will not be able to win the matches if we keep letting the opposition score goals. So definitely, defense is the area that we want to improve as a team.”
What are your objectives for the next matches?
“Our objective is to win the next matches. If we don’t win those we cannot qualify for the playoffs. So the upcoming games are very important for us and will determine our performance this season.”
What is your assessment of NorthEast United? What are their strong areas?
“They are a very good and compact team. They have good foreigners and Indian players. They attack with many players and while crossing they have 5-6 players inside the box. So they are a dangerous team from set-pieces and counter-attack. But the good thing is if we can score first then things might become a little bit disorganized for them and we will have to take advantage of that. It will be a good and competitive match as both teams will be fighting for the win. But we are serious and I think we can get the three points.“
You have worked with coach Antonio Habas for a while and, since you have worked under him, will you follow some of his strategies in the upcoming game?
“Yeah, 100% sure. He is my teacher, so all my tactics will be the same as he was using. I follow and respect his tactics and from now on we will be playing exactly like we used to play under him with a good compact team altogether and fast counter-attack during the transitions.”
How hopeful are you that the team will go to the playoffs?
“We are always hopeful and we are looking forward to giving our best on the pitch. I think it’s a good thing that all the players are mentally strong and very motivated. I think the players are motivated. But the league table is very unpredictable. Matches are thick and fast so we need to be prepared for the upcoming matches. We don’t want to underestimate any team but prove that we are the best team on the field and not just on paper.”
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