The star striker spoke ahead of his club’s upcoming game in the AFC Cup 2021.

On Friday, Indian Super League (ISL) outfit ATK Mohun Bagan announced their 22-member squad for the AFC Cup 2021 inter-zonal semifinals. While the likes of Hugo Boumous and Tiri were absent, Joni Kauko made it to the squad for the first time. As expected, Roy Krishna will lead the Mariners against FC Nasaf from Uzbekistan.

Ahead of the forthcoming game which is set to happen on September 22, Roy Krishna answered questions from journalists in a media interaction. Here are the excerpts:

As your opponent is going to be tougher in the upcoming match in AFC Cup Inter zonal SF, how confident are you to win the match?

Roy Krishna: It’s going to be a tough match but we are preparing ourselves as much as possible to take on the challenge. The club needs to win the next match to progress to the next stage. For me personally, it would be a major achievement if we can go all the way, so I’m confident that we will be able to come away with a win despite them having the home advantage. Overall, it’s going to be a difficult match because they have some good foreign players and also they have already started their league.

This means they’ve had at least a few months of training under their belt by the time we have our match. Competing with a well-trained team like them would be a challenge, but we are preparing as much as we can to win this. We are going to Uzbekistan to give our all.

Do you think their defenders will mark you hard, as you are the main scorer of your team? How will you control that situation?

Roy Krishna: Any team would be looking out to defend so we will prepare as if we are going to be targeted. The coach has strategies and tactics that we are going to be using and we hope that it will help us get this win. Also, we have a strong midfield and defence and they will be helping us control and keep the ball and at the same time provide opportunities to score.

How are you dealing with the expectations of shouldering the team’s goal-scoring burden in important tournaments?

Roy Krishna: My motive is mainly to help the team win and if I get the chance to score, I will score. If I can assist another team player, I will do the same. The ultimate goal is to help the team win, even if it means defending at times to protect our own goalmouth.

What learnings did you take from the AFC Cup group stages which you think would benefit the team in the knockouts?

Roy Krishna: I think my biggest lesson is not to underestimate any team making it this far and also to focus on one match at a time. We are playing with the best from the division groups so they are coming fully prepared. This means we need to up our game and fitness level. Some teams came to the playoffs on the back of winning their major leagues with proper preparations. We had only assembled for a couple of weeks due to travel restrictions when we headed to the Maldives, so it was a good learning opportunity.

Most of us couldn’t get together because of restrictions in our own countries that didn’t allow us to travel outside of the country and it took a long time to convince the authorities which meant we only had a week or so to train. But now it’s been over a month so we’ve had some good training and our fitness levels are up.

This year, there are several variations in ATK-MB’s attacking third…do you think it may be the game-changer for the green and maroon brigade at the AFC Cup Inter zonal semi-final?

Roy Krishna: I definitely think it will be a game-changer. I’m sure our opponents have studied us well and know our style, so having some tactical changes will be an added advantage.

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