The ATK Mohun Bagan head coach also shared what he demands from young Fardin Ali Molla.

Juan Ferrando’s ATK Mohun Bagan hope to take a step closer to solidifying a place in the Indian Super League (ISL 2022-23) playoffs when they host an in-form Bengaluru FC side. The Blues come into the game on the back of four successive wins, with the Mariners hoping to end their joy and get another victory at home.

Ferrando ready for Bengaluru FC challenge

Speaking on if he feels this game against Bengaluru will be tougher challenge than the reverse fixture because of the Blues’ impressive form, Juan Ferrando said: “For us the game is important as we’re playing at home. It’s necessary to prepare a plan, but in this case, we have 25 players – but some aren’t ready because of suspensions and injuries.

“The players are ready. Bengaluru have improved themselves in the last few matches. It’s important for them to be in the playoffs, but tomorrow is a totally different match and different situation for us. We’re confident, but out target is to continue working in the same way and get three points as we’re playing at home,” he added.

Goal-scoring inconsistency

The Spaniard also addressed his side’s lack of consistency when it comes to scoring goals or converting their chances this season. He explained: “When the performance of the team isn’t good, it’s important to be confident about the team. I trust in my squad and I continue supporting them in the same way. The objective is to get three points, but it’s necessary to know at times why certain performances are not good. Sometimes, the players fail to understand the concept and sometimes it’s not good because we have problems in front of the goal. But this happens with many teams. Against Chennaiyin, Brendan (Hamill) had two big clear opportunities but couldn’t score.

“But this is a part of football and in this moment if you read the stats, the most chances created in the ISL are by ATK Mohun Bagan. In this case, we can only support the players because one day these chances will turn into goals. Of course, the staff and players are disappointed with it – but for me the most important thing is the players come after a game to work on their issues. It’s important to work on them to bring change,” he added.

Reasons behind Liston Colaco’s struggles

Liston Colaco has struggled to impress for the Mariners this season, only scoring one goal so far. When asked about the winger’s goal-scoring troubles and poor miss in the Odisha game, the Spaniard said: “In the last match, he played 10 minutes and had one opportunity. It wasn’t that much of an easy chance. Of course, he is emotional because right now everyone isn’t just talking about Liston – but a lot of players have problems in front of the keeper. It’s necessary to support them in this case and be more confident in front of the opposition keeper. There is no secret to scoring goals.

“You have examples in Europe or Asia, for example in the Qatar World Cup final –  France had a great opportunity in the end – but Emiliano Martinez saved it and Argentina won in the penalty shootout. This is part of football. For me, the problem is not just with Liston, Ashique (Kuruniyan) or Manvir (Singh) – it’s important they trust themselves to score when they get chances. I’m worried if we only have one chance per game, because that would be a big problem and make it tough for us to win matches. But in this case, the players are more confident and will hope to control things better,” he quipped.

Dealing with Roy Krishna

When asked if he has any plans to deal with Roy Krishna, Juan Ferrando explained: “I explain this all the time, I trust in my 11 players and substitutes and never make plans on one player of the opposition team. I know if my team works like a team, I won’t be scared about individual players. In my point of view, it’s important to control the transitions. In the last match against Chennaiyin, Benglauru scored on the transitions. For me, it’s important to control these details. Our focus is in our team. It’s in our hands to prepare for matches, but never to plan for any special players in the opponent.”

Can a win over BFC help ATKMB qualify for playoffs?

Upon being asked if a win against Bengaluru FC can help ATK Mohun Bagan solidify a top-four finish in the league stages, the tactician said:  “It’s important to get three points tomorrow because it improves our chances to be in the playoffs. But it’s important for us to be in our best position too. As I repeat all the time, playing away isn’t easy and all the teams that play away find it difficult. Yesterday, East Bengal were much better than Kerala – but our target in the three matches in 10 days against Bengaluru, Jamshedpur and Hyderabad. It’s important for us to do our best. We have two matches away after the Bengaluru game. It’s important to be mentally strong and do our best, as getting points at this stage of the season can help us get our best possible finish in a few weeks.”

Can Gallego start? Will Fardin Molla get more minutes?

Finally, when asked if Federico Gallego is ready to start this game and if young striker Fardin Molla can be expected to get more minutes, Juan Ferrando said: “We have Ricky (Shabong), we have Liston and Gallego for this position. We have three players to work in this position. We have training today and we’ll see who replaces Hugo Boumous after that. We’ve five foreign players right now and all of them are ready to help the team. This is important because we can choose our best combination now. “

“Fardin has talent, he is a good player and knows a lot about our concepts. But sometimes, he’s struggled with his calves and that’s why he hasn’t played a lot of minutes. We take decisions for him to play little because we want to protect him. I want to continue working with him because he needs to improve a lot of things. I’m not completely happy because I know he can improve his performance more. I think with every step, he’ll change his mentality too and he needs to think like a professional player.

“He’ll need to control the extra things and I feel he can be one of the best No.9 for us going forward. But everyone needs to learn, they need to work in the same way because he’s only joined us recently and started working like a professional. I hope he can work hard to ensure he can play even more minutes,” he finished off with.

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