The French-Moroccan won the league title with Mumbai City last season.

Indian Super League (ISL) sensation Hugo Boumous has joined ATK Mohun Bagan this season. The Mariners’ fans already feel that his addition to an already star-studded line-up will multiply the chances of them emerging victorious. Meanwhile, ATKMB’s media team caught up with the man himself, with just a week remaining for the 2021-22 season to begin.

Here are some excerpts from the interaction:

ATKMB: Due to some unfortunate incidents you had to join training late. Given that the kickoff is only a few days away, do you think your training time will be adequate?

Hugo Boumous: Indeed, I faced some problems before joining my team. But all of that is behind me now. I am 100% focused with my club. While I was away from the rest of the group, I continued to train hard to be ready. Of course, nothing replaces training with my teammates but now I feel in good shape.

ATKMB: After the AFC Cup, while you were in Paris, did you follow any particular training schedule?

Hugo Boumous: Yes of course. I worked with a physical trainer who followed my progress every day. My diet and my workouts were prepared on a daily basis. For a high-level player, nothing should be left to chance.

ATKMB: You were member of the champion team last season. How confident are you of becoming champions with us?

Hugo Boumous: Every season is different. I am convinced that I’ve joined a team that can reach a very high level. The level here in India is improving year by year and the championship is getting harder and harder to win. But I am confident in the capacities of the team. From a personal point of view, I will give my all and try to advise my teammates as best as I can to go as high as possible. The team reached the final last season. The next step is victory. We must be ambitious!

ATKMB: Our second match of the season is a Kolkata Derby on which the fans have an emotional value. What is your take on this?

Hugo Boumous: I want to be a footballer to experience those kinds of emotions. I researched and delved into the history of the Kolkata Derby to understand the importance of this derby today. I can’t wait to feel the fever of the public rise. Unfortunately due to COVID-19, this derby will be different without the fans but we will feel the intensity of such games on the pitch I’m sure. We will be ready!

ATKMB: Each team is allowed to field only four foreign players this season. So the coaches have to select players on a rotational basis. What is your take on this?

Hugo Boumous: There are two different levels of reading to do. By forcing clubs to start at least 7 Indian players, this will allow Indian players to play more and surely, to evolve more quickly. For a foreign player, it is a more restrictive decision since there will be one place less. We have no choice and so we will have to be the best to get our place on the pitch. No matter what, there will be 11 highly motivated teammates to win.

ATKMB: You played against ATKMB last season. Do you think this side is stronger than last season?

Hugo Boumous: The team was already very strong last season. There were arrivals and departures as in all clubs. Today I think it is still early to judge the level of the team. We are still learning about each other. One thing is certain, the quality is present and we will have to show it on the pitch.

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