The ATKMB head coach also opened up on their preparations ahead of facing KBFC.
ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando felt that the Indian Super league (ISL) should take inspiration from other footballing leagues around the world and continue the league by taking the necessary precautions despite the difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
After two of their matches got postponed due to Covid-19 cases, things are slowly settling down in the ATK Mohun Bagan camp as head coach Ferrando is confident of his team showing professionalism and bouncing back on the pitch.
With two games in hand, ATK Mohun play their tenth game of the season in match 66 against Kerala Blasters FC on Thursday at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco, Goa. Head coach Juan Ferrando addressed the media during the pre-match press conference of the game.
Here are the excerpts from Ferrando’s pre-match press conference:
How has been your physical and mental state during last few weeks?
Juan Ferrando: To be honest, yesterday we worked in the pitch and I forgot about the past. Of course, it’s difficult for everybody but when we’re on the pitch and we are working with players, with our job, with football, we immediately forget about the past because I think the most important thing is to focus on our future.
How difficult do you think Kerala Blasters game will be?
Juan Ferrando: Of course, it’s not so easy when the players, in our case, have been inside the room for 11 days doing nothing but individual programs. It’s difficult for all the teams, but in the end, I don’t forget that the most important thing is that we can play a match. Because everyone is happy when it’s possible to play football.
How do you think players are effected mentally by postponed games?
Juan Ferrando: It’s difficult for everyone right now. I think in the ISL everybody is talking about the difficulties in staying in the room or bio-bubble. It’s not possible to stay in a room all the time. But I understand the situation is difficult in around the world, not just in India. But we’re professionals and it’s important to take a breath every morning and to try to do the best. The situation is difficult for everybody, but I again repeat that we are here and we can play games. This is the most important thing.
How worried are you about the covid-19 situation?
Juan Ferrando: I’m worried because everybody is thinking about the health of their teammates, their friends, their families, their wives, their babies or future babies. Of course, everybody is scared but I think in this moment, everyone understands the situation. We’re strong and the most important thing about difficult moments is to try to do the same everyday, we do our job, play football.
We have to control and respect the rules, yes, but I don’t think it’s necessary to change much of the routine.
How important will Jhingan be for the coming campaign?
Juan Ferrando: I’m happy because all the players are ready for the game. In this moment, we need to take control because we have many games. We haven’t practiced with all the players in the field. It’s necessary to protect the health of the players. In this moment, in our case, yesterday we had 2 trainings and today we have a few trainings in which we’ll look into the condition of the team.
With so many players coming out from Covid-19 and Hugo suspended, how difficult is it to pick an XI?
Juan Ferrando: It’s difficult of course, because we have to prepare one plan in two days in this moment. But I’m not so worried because I have a very good squad, our players are professionals and we are ready. We can and we want to do our job, which is to play football.
What are the strengths of Kerala Blasters and what helped them go to top of ISL table after losing opener?
Juan Ferrando: I think it’s a different match now. The first game is always different, but now it’s a totally new chapter. I don’t know about that first game, but I’m focused on the Kerala game now. After 3 games under me, we have to improve in some points but we don’t have a lot of time to work on the pitch. We’ll try to do the best tomorrow and it’ll be important for the players to help the team.
Do you think ATKMB’s two games in hand can give them an advantage?
Juan Ferrando: At this situation, we are under pressure. When you know the results of the opponents, you are under pressure. When you don’t know that, you’re also unde pressure. But I don’t think it’s an advantage because only NorthEast have 12 games in this moment. Every team has 9-10 games, in our case it’s 11, but we’re only thinking about the game against Kerala. We’ll forget about we have 12 games, we’ll prepare the team for the next game.
We have no advantage, because at the end of the season, everybody plays 20 games, everybody plays against each other and there is no advantage.
Does ATKMB have in it in them to get top-4 finish at end of the season?
Juan Ferrando: We hope to get good success at the end of the season, but the most important thing is the present. I think this is a big problem in our lives, everyone is thinking about getting a big house or a car in the future, but you have to work hard to get a good salary and to buy something like that. Football is the same. We want all the success, that’s our target because we’re an ambitious club, but the most important thing is to have success in future you have to do our job perfectly in the present.
Update on Amrinder Singh’s fitness?
Juan Ferrando: I think Amrinder is ready. Of course, he has some problems but I think he’s working in his room everyday to take care about his body. Avilash is the only problem because he has a bad injury, but we’ll support him because he’s a good man and a good goalkeeper.
Do you think ISL should’ve been suspended or postponed because of rising cases?
Juan Ferrando: I think it’s better to continue. You have good examples in the Premier League, the La Liga or the Ligue 1. You can take PSG who have so many Covid positive cases like Messi, or Tottenham in the Premier League when they had 6-7 players positive. In Spain, there are 3-4 teams with many positives even in the Super Cup Real Madrid had some positive cases. If they’re continue, we should do the same.
I think in this moment it’s necessary to know htat it’s a difficult moment for everybody around the world. But If we have to fight against Covid, you have to be strong and continue with your normal lives. Of course, take care, it’s necessary to follow some rules like sanitizing your hands, wearing masks and social distancing to control the rules. But in my opinion, take example of around the world. 90% of the big countries are continuing with normal life. The AFCON continued to happen with so many cases, the Champions League, Premier League, AFC Cup are all happening.
I think everybody is in their normal lives. Of course, there are some details for us – like you can’t be close with your friends or your families. Normally, Christmas is celebrated but it’s difficult. But our example has to be what’s happening outside India, that is to continue with normal life.