The ATK Mohun Bagan boss also denied to comment on the Blues’ ace striker Cleiton Silva.

Coming off their fantastic win over FC Goa in the Indian Super League (ISL), a high-flying ATKMB  side will meet an undefeated BFC on Monday evening. Ahead of the game, ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Antonio Habas spoke in the pre-match press conference.

Antonio Habas is wary of Bengaluru FC’s threat heading into the game and when asked about his plans to get the win over them, he said, “Bengaluru are a very strong team. They have very experienced and highly competitive players. They are a very strong opponent for us. For us, getting the three points is the mantra for every game. But, we know that the game between ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC is an important match. We absolutely respect the opponent and the 90 minutes will decide who comes out on top.”

Watch: ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Antonio Habas speaks in the pre-match press conference

The Mariners’ boss was asked about the Blues’ ace forward Cleiton Silva, however, the Spaniard refused to talk much about the Brazilian. 

“I don’t want to talk about the opponent’s players. It’s not good for a coach of another team to give their opinion on any individual players of the opponents. I know he is a very good player and I know him from his time in Taiwan,” he said.

Antonio Habas is well aware of just how dangerous Bengaluru FC skipper Sunil Chhetri is, however, revealed he does not have a different plan to contain him.

“No, we don’t have a special tactical plan for Chhetri. We will stick to zonal marking to keep him quiet as we do with other players,” he revealed.

“I know that Chhetri is the best player in the last 15 years in India. It’s clear how good he is, the stats talk for themselves. We know he is a very good player. But I have to value the strength of the opponent as a whole rather than any one player,” he added. 

Anotnio Habas also refused to talk about any ‘individual battles’ in the team and praised Manvir Singh instead. “It’s too risky to give an opinion about any individual battles. In my own interest, I need my players motivated in every game. For me, I believe Manvir Singh can be the best player in India. That’s my opinion about the future of football in India.”

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ATK Mohun Bagan are yet to score a goal in the first half of their matches so far. Antonio Habas was quizzed whether he specifically plans them to score late in the second half to grind out wins, he answered, “No, we don’t have any plans like that. It’s impossible to specifically plan to score goals just in the second half. Normally, the first halves are more closed down and the situation isn’t necessarily suited to score goals.”

“I remember in the last game, Williams had a fantastic situation to score (where he hit the bar) but he couldn’t score. The general tactic and idea is to score goals whenever you can, whenever the opponent gives you to score goals, not in any specific time during the game,” he added. 

The tactician was asked about the slow start of David Willaims to the season as compared to Roy Krishna. “That’s because Williams had some problems in the first matches of the competition. He was slightly injured and that didn’t help. But now he’s recovered and is performing really well. I’m very happy with the situation and have a lot of confidence in him.”

Antonio Habas was questioned whether he is pleased with the points his team have picked up so far, “Yes, because it is impossible to win every match. This season in the ISL, the teams are more balanced and more competitive. I believe it’s difficult for every team to win three points in every game.” 

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“Now the reality is only two teams are in first position with 13 points and the rest are nearby. There isn’t too much difference and I think the real difference will only be possible from the second half of the campaign.”

The Spaniard also added that his team does not play for a draw but aims to clinch all three points from any game. “One point? No, absolutely no. The idea in football is to get three points every game. I can never play thinking about the possibility of drawing or losing. Of course, sometimes it’s better to draw than lose but the idea is to win every day,” he finished.

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