The ATK Mohun Bagan head coach also felt that the Mariners will need to play against Odisha FC with the same intensity against Mumbai City.

ATK Mohun Bagan aim to maintain their surge towards the top spot of the Indian Super League (ISL) when they face bottom-dwellers Odisha FC. Facing a side who’ve recently sacked their manager and look in complete disarray, the Mariners look confident of picking up a big win to keep the pressure on Mumbai City FC. Ahead of the game, ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Antonio Habas spoke at the pre-match press conference.

Thoughts on struggling Odisha FC

Antonio Habas isn’t taking the challenge lightly and is wary of the threat a vulnerable Odisha bring. “We have to play with the same kind of intensity against Odisha as we did against Mumbai City. The competition in the ISL means there are no small opponents,” he said.

“They have a special situation because the coach is out and the players could have their motivation increased by 20% with a new coach. We have to play them as the same as we played against Mumbai,” the Spaniard added.

Lenny Rodrigues & scheduling

The tactician was also asked about his impression of the Mariners’ newest signing, Lenny Rodrigues. “For me, he’s a very good professional and a good player. I had him in Pune City and I know the player. When we had the opportunity to sign such a quality player, we signed him immediately because he has fantastic conditions for improving the playing style of the team,” Antonio Habas remarked.

The Mariners are all set to clash against Bengaluru FC within 48 hours of their game against Odisha on Saturday. Speaking about his thoughts on the scheduling, Habas opined, “It’s a very difficult schedule that we have. But, we have no excuses, we have to prepare and recover well to play against Bengaluru FC.”

Thoughts on ATKMB’s defensive vulnerabilities

The Spaniard blamed the consistent injury issues for ATKMB’s tendency to concede soft goals. “We can talk about this when we have a complete squad. All the time during the season, we have a lot of injured players, especially the foreign players. One day we have one and another day we lose two. It’s very difficult to complete a first XI to continue matches with all these injuries,” he asserted.

“It’s impossible to keep the same defensive level for 20 matches. We have won two matches not being perfect defensively, but I feel we’re improving in attack. For me, it’s always the same mantra is that we have to find the balance. That is the magic word in football,” he continued.

Expectations from Marcelinho & injury updates

Antonio Habas also spoke about his expectations from Marcelinho going forward. “I want Marcelinho to recover for games at his level. Now, he is adapting to the playing style of the team. But, we have more possibilities to win games because Marcelinho is a very good player,” the ATK Mohun Bagan boss revealed.

The 63-year-old also revealed the present injury status of key stars Subhasish Bose, Edu Garcia and Carl McHugh’s replacement in the upcoming game. “Yes, I think Subhasish Bose is recovering well, but Edu Garcia needs some more time to be on the pitch,” he remarked.

“Carl has a yellow card and (David) Williams is waiting for the possibility to play the game. In the 90 minutes, we have to evaluate and make decisions based on the evaluation that we have,” he added.

Thoughts on ATKMB’s possibility to top league stages

Antonio Habas also reiterated his stance on ATKMB’s chances of finishing the league stages in top spot, explaining, “I have the same confidence in the first matches. We had one difference with Mumbai and maybe Mumbai can lose one match, which means we’ll have the chance to catch up with a win. After that we have the possibility to play against them in the last match to decide the league winners,” he concluded.

For more updates, follow Khel Now on TwitterInstagram and join our community on Telegram.