The ATK Mohun Bagan tactician shared his thoughts on the upcoming game against the Islanders.
On Sunday, ATK Mohun Bagan will face Mumbai City FC in the final Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 league stage game. Both teams will go into the match with their sights set on the AFC Champions League spot, which is reserved for the league toppers. While Antonio Habas and Co. are at the top of the standings right now, they only have a three-point lead over the second-placed Islanders.
This means that if Mumbai City win, they will have the same number of points as the Mariners. In such a scenario, Sergio Lobera’s men will replace the Kolkata giants as the table-toppers, owing to their superior head-to-head record. That, in turn will also lead to them qualifying for the ACL –something which the Mariners will look to avoid at all costs.
The Kolkata giants’ head coach spoke to the media on Saturday in the pre-match press conference. Here are the excerpts from the interaction.
While Mumbai City need a win to displace ATK Mohun Bagan at the top of the points table, the latter need just a point to cement their first position and finish as league leaders. Despite it being so, Antonio Habas maintained that his team will be preparing to win.
“I think we have to be preparing for winning, not drawing. We have to win and nothing less,” he said.
Hugo Boumous’ suspension
The Islanders will be without the services of Hugo Boumous on Sunday, as he is serving a suspension mandated by the AIFF. When asked if that would be an advantage for the Mariners, the 63-year-old downplayed the notion.
“The competition is such that you can never say which team is better than the other. If you take a look at the circumstances that we had been in, you will know that we also had problems. But, that is in the past and now we are more of a complete side. At the same time, we will also be missing an important player, as Subhasish (Bose) is serving a ban,” the Spaniard explained.
On previous game between both sides
Both teams last faced each other earlier in January, in the first game of the league stage. Back then, Mumbai City won by a narrow 1-0 margin, thanks to Bartholomew Ogbeche’s goal in the second half.
“It could have been a draw,” Antonio Habas said, recollecting the encounter. “We had a brilliant chance just before they scored.
“But no, no excuses. Now, it’s going to be a different match and another result is on the cards. We respect Mumbai City and are aware that they have fantastic players. We will need the best out of our players – Roy Krishna, Marcelinho and everyone else. Roy is one of the best players that I have ever coached, both on and off the pitch. With him and the others, we are going to try and continue this run till the final,” the tactician further elaborated.
Antonio Habas confirmed that both Edu Garcia and Marcelinho will be available for the game on Sunday.
“Reaching this stage is historic, but we still have matches to complete. Against Mumbai City, we will be facing a team that has one of the strongest attacks. We also have a possibility in front of us to consolidate our league standing – so it’s a final for us although it’s not the final,” he signed off.