The ATK Mohun Bagan tactician also spoke on how the team is planning without Joni Kauko.

ATK Mohun Bagan are hoping to get back to winning ways in the Indian Super League (ISL 2022-23) when they host league-leaders Hyderabad FC on Saturday. The Mariners are six-points behind the top of the table and need a win to brighten up their hopes of winning the league championship this season. Prior to the game, head coach Juan Ferrando attended the press conference along with midfielder Hugo Boumous.

Here’s what they said.

What changes required from FC Goa loss?

Reflecting on the 3-0 thrashing from FC Goa and what changes ATKMB need to make to defeat Hyderabad FC, Juan Ferrando said: “I think it’s unnecessary to talk about the last match because the next match is important. We’re thinking about the present and our next match.

“Of course the last performance was disappointing, but it was five days ago. Our target is to be ready for tomorrow’s game and get three points,” he added.

Joni Kauko’s season-ending injury

When asked about his feelings on Joni Kauko’s season-ending injury, the Spaniard stated: “This is a part of football. It’s very disappointing. Last season it happened with Tiri and Avilash and this season it happened with Kauko.

He added, “It’s a big problem for us because he’s an important player. But this gives us chances to keep going and work. I always say that we have a strong squad with very good players and full of talent. This is a moment to work together without Joni. We’ll keep going and continue working on ourselves.”

Big stakes of the match

A win can help catapult the Mariners to three points close to the league leaders with a game in hand. Being questioned about the stakes in this match, Ferrando explained:  “I think it’s another match where we’ll want to get three points. It’s not necessary to talk about a league title after just 6-7 games. Yesterday, the Chennaiyin-Odisha game changed in five minutes. It’s not important to think about the league continuing or not, but to think about ourselves. We target to play at home and get three points. That is all we want.”

Thoughts on Hyderabad FC’s form

Giving his thoughts on Hyderabad FC’s form this season, Juan Ferrando said: “They are working in the same plan for the last few years. They have the same line-up and same spine of the team of the last few seasons with Ogbeche (Bartholomew), Joao Victor and Chinglensana (Singh).

“For them, the first season was a test but they’ve been really good over the last two seasons. It’s necessary to accept that they’re a very good team and they have success at this moment. But for me, the most important thing is the performance of my team,” he added.

Consistency issues troubling ATK Mohun Bagan?

After being questioned on his side’s consistency issues this season, Ferrando said: “This is part of football. Every time I explain that the emotions of the dressing room and the players is very important. In football, it’s necessary to not only control the tactical or technical parts, but also emotions. Sometimes we perform well, sometimes we don’t come up with good performances. Of course, we are happy when the team is good, it’s the moment to praise them.

“But when the team doesn’t have success, it’s necessary to support the players and help them to improve some details. We are also talking about the squad, but the players are under immense pressure to play. They know they’re a good team. In football, the best teams are sometimes suffering under pressure. But in my opinion, this team can improve everyday and will get better with the games ahead. I trust in my players and in the club. I know after the Hyderabad game, the team will be of the same performance till the end of the league,” he added.

Revenge for last season’s loss?

ATK Mohun Bagan faces Hyderabad FC for the first time since losing the playoffs’ semi-finals to them last season. When posed with the question on if ‘revenge’ is on their minds, Ferrando said: “I think last season against Hyderabad, we played four times. The first time they drew in the last minute and lost the second leg by a narrow margin. We lost the first semi-final by a margin of 3-1 after a disappointing performance, but I felt like we had performed really well in the second leg and just lacked in some actions in front of the keeper.

“But that is last season. For me, tomorrow’s math is totally different and I hope to get three points. I hope the performance will be better from the previous match. My focus is on the future. The past is better to delete because it’s not possible to change anything,” he finished with.

Hugo Boumous speaks

Hugo Boumous accompanied his head coach Juan Ferrando to the pre-match press conference. Speaking on the impact of Kauko’s injury for his role in the team, he said: “It’s a big problem that Joni will be out for the remaining of the season. I can only wish him good luck and have a good recovery and be here as soon as possible. He was an important player on and off the pitch. But I’ll now have to perform as much as possible, as I’ve done till now and even more. Because Joni was creative like me, I now have bigger responsibilities on the pitch. But now I’m sure all my partners on the pitch will help us achieve the three points.”

On Hyderabad FC

He had a lot of praise for Hyderabad FC’s development, explaining: “They’re a very good team. They had a great season last year and have been progressing for the last few seasons with the same bunch of players. They are maybe the most balanced team in the ISL and one of the favourites to win the title.

“They lost the last game, so maybe they’re not 100% confident. So we need to be at our best, but with the quality we have in our squad, we can get three points tomorrow. Hyderabad has their own style. They don’t play a similar style as FC Goa. They are very balanced, very experienced. They have quality players in the forward and wing roles. But in some places, we are better. We have to show that on the pitch and we need to play better. We need to ensure to not concede goals, score goals and defeat them,” he opined.

FC Goa loss taught a valuable lesson?

When asked if the loss to FC Goa taught them a valuable lesson before the Hyderabad FC game, Boumous said: “It was a tough loss for us because it’s difficult to lose 3-0 against another team. The confidence is impacted by that. Sometimes you feel clueless about that kind of a game where you can’t manage to do anything. They played really well and were tactically and defensively strong, making it difficult for us. Our pressing wasn’t coordinated that day. We made a lot of effort to recover the ball, and when we did, the players were tired to create the attacking moves.

“The FC Goa defence blocked us really well and they scored from the chances they got. We didn’t get many chances, but sometimes it’s like this in football. It’s a lesson, but maybe we have to learn about what hasn’t been good in our team. But we have a new opportunity tomorrow to redeem ourselves. The injury of Joni is very bad for everyone, so it’s a moment to stick as a unit. There is a lot of quality in the team. We have one of the best squads in the ISL, so there is no reason that we can’t succeed. We have to do it as a team altogether. If we can play at our best, we can beat Hyderabad,” he added.

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