The Spanish coach addressed the media ahead of his team’s clash against the Nizams.

ATK Mohun Bagan have the opportunity to top the league stages of the Indian Super League (ISL) and book a place in the AFC Champions League next season, if they defeat top-four hopefuls Hyderabad FC on Monday. Ahead of the game, Antonio Habas represented the Mariners at the pre-match press conference on Sunday.

No place for complacency

Habas knows that the finish line is nearing for his side, but is opting to remain relaxed until the objective is achieved. The Spaniard is refusing to allow complacency to set into the squad and reiterated, “We have to respect Hyderabad to the maximum. They have a good team, good players, good balance and a good coach.

“We will have to be at our best to beat them. We are not going to be over-confident tomorrow and have to remain utmost professional.”

Kolkata Derby fallout

The tactician was also asked about which one of the Kolkata Derby wins this season satisfied him the most. He said, “It’s just three points! Maybe the second one was better because the final to the competition is near. All the time, three points are important, but now it is even more important because we’re nearing the end of the season.”

The Mariners are dealing with a few injuries right now, including that of Edu Garcia and Marcelinho – who picked up a knock in the derby. Habas gave an update on them, saying, “I think Edu is coming back soon. Marcelinho’s injury is not that big an injury.”

Hyderabad the ‘surprise element’ of season

Habas also promised that his side will retain their attacking style against Hyderabad, who have a very good defensive record this season. He said, “I think we will attack from the get-go because Hyderabad have a very good balance between their defence and their attack. That’s the secret also. The secret in football is high competition.

“It’s not about having a good defence and bad attack or bad defence and good attack. The idea is to complete the transition together. Hyderabad have been the surprise element of the ISL this season.”

Thoughts on upcoming games

With ATKMB already having qualified for the playoffs, Antonio Habas was asked about which team he’d prefer to play in the semi-finals. He said, “I’m not a magician, I’m a coach of football. So, I really don’t know.”

The Mariners will have had only 48 hours to prepare after their game against Hyderabad FC for the match on Monday. When asked about whether this will see him opt for some rotation, the coach said, “Yes, the schedule is not good for us. But, we have no excuses. We always talk about having no excuses and in this match also, there will be no excuses from us.”

Roy Krishna the ‘best player in league’

With top scorer Roy Krishna soaring for the Mariners, Antonio Habas was asked if he’s bettered what he did last season for the erstwhile ATK. He explained, “I think that Roy Krishna is the same important player this season as he was last season. 100% he’s an incredibly important player for us.

“Now, in the first matches, he didn’t have the best performances because after six months it’s very difficult to adapt to such a competition. But, for me, he’s the best player in the league,” he ended in confident fashion.

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