The 31-year-old expressed his confidence in the team ahead of the new season.
“This year I have a lot of confidence on myself and will do my best to get the trophy once again,” said ATK Mohun Bagan midfielder Javi Hernandez, as he got up close and personal with Khel Now ahead of their first match of the season against Kerala Blasters.
The 31-year-old Spaniard who scored a brace in the Indian Super League (ISL) final last season, seemed optimistic regarding his performance this time around. “Last year was my first season out of Europe. Everything was new and it’s always a bit difficult in the beginning. This year, I have a lot of confidence in myself and also in my team We’ll do our best to win the league.”
The Real Madrid Castilla graduate made his debut in the Indian top tier last season and dominated the ATK midfield. Though he lacked his scoring boots initially, Javi Hernandez continued to showcase his playmaking skills, as he developed into the midfield general of the Kolkata-based outfit. When asked about his thoughts on Indian football and its development, he said, “I think Indian football is growing very quickly. We have a bunch of young Indian prospects in our squad and I am sure in the next couple of years, we will see them develop into brilliant footballers with a potential to make it into the national team.”
“I am very excited. I’ve heard and read a lot about this derby,” exclaimed Javi Hernandez when asked about his feelings on being able to be part of the first-ever Kolkata Derby in the ISL. He added, “It’s sad that our fans can’t come to the stadium. Because, I believe we have the best supporters and the craziest ones. We feel them very close and I request them to cheer us at the same level from their homes.”
Given the depth in the squad and a lot of overseas and domestic options this season, ATK Mohun Bagan are expected to perform well at the continental level. Asked about his expectations from the AFC Cup, the midfielder answered, “Now, our first target is the first match and this match right now is the most important for our team. We have a lot of good players in the squad, with many options and almost majority of us played together last year. So, we know each other pretty well and the bonding is very strong. That’s the best part of our team and we are hopeful of doing well with this strength.”
Tactically, ATKMB are expected to offer a lot of diversity on the pitch, with their squad depth being one of the strongest in the competition. When asked how challenging it will be for him to adapt to the different roles, Javi Hernandez said, “I think this is a very special season for everyone because of COVID. Everyone plays away without fans and plenty of games in a short space of team. That’s why I think it’s not important who has the best first XI this season. Rather, for me, more important is who has the best team,” he continued. “In our team, all players are equally important and are motivated enough to perform their roles well.”