The Spaniard was delighted after his side’s win over the former champions.
ATK Mohun Bagan did the double over Bengaluru FC with a compelling 2-0 win on Tuesday, taking them just one point behind Indian Super League (ISL) leaders Mumbai City FC. Goals from Roy Krishna and Marcelinho helped Antonio Habas and Co. get another dominant win to take another step closer to qualifying for the playoffs.
Thoughts on result
The Mariners’ boss was very happy with the win and summing it up, he said, “Absolutely, I’m delighted with the performance. We played a solid match and I’m happy. We’re improving every day and have a good feeling for the rest of the season.”
Surprisingly, this was the first time ATKMB scored twice in the first half against any opponent in the ISL this season. When asked about whether this was his plan all along, Antonio Habas said, “Football is 90 minutes. It isn’t decided whether or not you scored in the first 45 minutes. But, I want to say that the team played a fantastic match. They controlled the match completely. I’m proud of my players.”
Lenny Rodrigues’ performance
Lenny Rodrigues put in another solid showing in midfield for a very attack-minded ATKMB side against Bengaluru. Upon being questioned about whether Lenny’s figure in midfield allows him to play his best attacking stars together, Antonio Habas said, “I want to play well through the 90 minutes, not 45 or 35 minutes. I’m very happy with the performance of the entire team, not just how well Lenny did.”
AFC Champions League spot
Despite closing in to just one point behind Mumbai City, the Spaniard isn’t taking the AFC Champions League qualification for granted. “For me, it’s the same opinion as before. We like to be one point behind Mumbai City going into the last match against them, so it gives us a chance to finish the league stages with the AFC Champions League spot,” he said.
Sunil Chhetri had an underwhelming game against the Mariners, with the ATKMB defenders doing well to keep him quiet. When speaking about his performance, Antonio Habas said, “He is a legend in India right now, so we have to respect him. Chhetri is the national team captain and I know him from the 2014 season in ISL.
“He had the same concept this season or last season. But now, more young players are emerging from the system who can perhaps take up his mantle in the national team.”
Meanwhile, Marcelinho scored his second goal for the Mariners in three games with a spectacular free-kick in the first half. Asked about whether he’ll look to make his loan deal a permanent signing, the Spaniard revealed, “Look, we’ll try to retain Marcelinho for another season in the ISL.
“I think he is a clever player. We have to use his possibility to benefit the team. It’ll be Marcelinho playing for the team, not the team playing for Marcelinho.”
Peaking at right time?
Finally, when asked about the fixtures ahead and if his team are peaking at the right time of the season, Antonio Habas said, “Maybe, we are peaking now. But, we have to think about only the next match. We’ll think about recovery of the players. There’s no point thinking about the future because the future is today for us.”
Man of the Match Marcelinho thought it was a ‘perfect night’ for ATK Mohun Bagan and summing up the result, he said, “I think we worked hard. I claimed to be our set-piece-taker with the coach this week. I had the luck to score because Gurpreet (Singh Sandhu) is a very good goalkeeper. It’s a big privilege for me to help the team win.”
He also spoke about how happy he is playing with the Mariners, expressing, “I’m very delighted to be here. I’m enjoying myself. I love the way we play. The coach is giving me a lot of confidence, so that’s very important for me.”