The Spaniard heaped praise on in-form striker Roy Krishna.
ATK Mohun Bagan are vying to make it four wins on the trot in the Indian Super League when they face Jamshedpur FC on Sunday. The Mariners tasted defeat to the Men of Steel the last time they met. Antonio Habas and Co.have to be wary of their threat, with Owen Coyle’s men looking for a place in the playoffs themselves.
Jamshedpur FC’s threat
The Spaniard is well aware of the threat Jamshedpur pose and doesn’t believe SC East Bengal’s recent win against them makes his side’s task any easier. He said, “We have the idea to compete with our 100%. I don’t consider anything about if they lost to another opponent or not. For me, that’s not important. We have to focus 100% and can’t accept anything less than that.”
Antonio Habas also praised Jamshedpur’s strength in every area of the pitch, saying, “They have good players in all lines of the pitch. They have a strong defence, good creative central midfielders and evidently the possibility to play with (David) Grande or (Nerijus) Valskis upfront. I expect a hard match because they also have the possibility to qualify for the playoffs and will give their all against us.”
The Spaniard also refused to talk about ATKMB’s defeat to Jamshedpur last time around and considers this a different match. He said, “I don’t really want to talk about the past. All the matches are different, all matches have difficult challenges. Now, we have to play this match like it is our last of the season.”
Recent performances & mentality
The coach is pleased with his team’s recent performances and urged his side to maintain this momentum heading into the last four games of the league stages. He explained, “The team is in a good place. We have confidence and are in the best way right now. Now, we have to take this into the last four matches in case of our possibility to win the regular league. That is our idea. We focus every day on the next opponent, not on future games.”
Antonio Habas also insisted that the Mariners’ mentality is to always play attractive, attacking football. “We always try to play our best form of attacking football. We have one proposal, that is to play attacking football and then think about defensive football. Football is at all times about two things. The team is improving, it is better, they have the possibility to get all objectives and we are fighting for that.”
Mathematically qualifying for playoffs
The Spaniard is focused on mathematically qualifying for the playoffs rather than thinking about anything else right now. He said, “Mathematically, we haven’t qualified for the playoffs yet. I think it’s very difficult now, as the team can be out of the playoffs. I think our next possibility is to qualify and after that, we have to try and win all our remaining matches.”
Edu Garcia’s injury
Antonio Habas confirmed that Edu Garcia is still recovering from his injury and is likely to miss the Kolkata Derby. “Edu is recovering from his knock right now. I think maybe in 10 days, he can be with the rest of the team. We don’t have any player with the yellow cards right now. Apart from Edu Garcia’s injury, we have a fully fit squad.”
Roy Krishna & David Williams’ contrasting form
The ATKMB coach is also delighted with Roy Krishna’s form over the last few games, which has seen the Fijian striker soar up to the top of the Golden Boot rankings in the league. He said, “For me, Roy is the best striker in the ISL. We had to consider the possibility of taking better care of him throughout the season because he consistently played 90 minutes every game. We needed to consider the possibility to play him every game or give him appropriate rest, but we’re delighted with the effort he’s made this season.”
When it came to another striker, David Williams, who isn’t performing quite like he did last season, Antonio Habas defended the Australian. “No, he had a few injury problems this season. He recovered, got injured again. He just couldn’t get to the momentum he wanted because of that. Now, we have the best of Williams and I’m extremely confident in his ability.”