The Spaniard revealed that the Mariners will be holding a preparatory camp ahead of next season.

After being appointed as the head coach of Mohun Bagan, Jose Antonio “Kibu” Vicuna held his first media interaction in Kolkata on Tuesday ahead of the Calcutta Football League.

The 47-year-old expressed his delight at coming to India and his decision to choose Mohun Bagan. He also shed light on the club’s target in the upcoming season. “I chose India because it feels like a big challenge for me. Also, my decision to join Mohun Bagan is similar. The main target of the club is to improve on last season’s performances,” said Vicuna.

The Spaniard had his first introductory session with some of the Indian players. Veteran goalkeeper Shilton Paul was present at the session along with most of the local players, including Azharuddin Mallick, Sk. Faiaz, Arijit Bagui and Sankar Roy. Vicuna looked content with the players and the facilities provided by the club, but also made it clear that he needs more time to understand his team ahead of next season.

“I want to know the team better, it will take time. Understanding my team is crucial for us. The practice sessions are starting from Thursday (4th July) we will get to know each other better,” he quipped.

Bagan have generally shown their trust in Indian coaches, starting from Sanjoy Sen, under whom they won the I-League and Federation Cup, to coaches like Sankarlal Chakraborty and Khalid Jamil. However, now for the first time since Karim Bencharifa’s departure in 2014, the Mariners have appointed a foreign coach in Vicuna.

The former Wisla Plock manager was quizzed about his football philosophy and the managers who inspire him the most, to which he answered, “I like to play attacking football. But, I want to keep a balance between attack and defense. However, my philosophy will be based on the players, I will assess them and then find the best way to play.”

“Every coach has got their own style, but I like Pep Guardiola the most. I think he is the best coach in the world. I also like Diego Simeone and his defensive work and Marco Bielsa’s training regime and the way he conducts the lifestyle of his footballers,” he added.

Vicuna also mentioned the names of Spain’s FIFA World Cup winning coach Vincente del Bosque and former Real Madrid boss Juen Lopetegui.

Speaking about the foreign recruits and overall team building the tactician said, “I am happy with the team. Both Fran (Morante) and Salvador Chamorro are good players and they will join the team soon. I am overall happy with the progress the club has made with the transfers.”

However, the Spaniard remained tight lipped when asked about future foreign recruitments for the upcoming season.

The former CA Osasuna man has done his fair share of research regarding Indian football and Bagan in general. Although, the Spaniard revealed that he knows about the derby against East Bengal, he refused to give extra attention to the Red and Gold Brigade and wants his team to consider it as just another game.

“I know that East Bengal are our main rivals. But, we are not going to play all the matches against them. I don’t know Alejandro (Menendez) personally. During my time at Osasuna, he worked at Real Madrid. He is a good coach,” Vicuna added.

The Spaniard also opted not to comment on the current issues in Indian football and the tussle between the Indian Super League (ISL) and I-League.

“I can’t speak about ISL and I-League. It is something which the officials must decide, they are the directors of the club. I am happy with wherever we play.”

The former Legia Warsaw assistant coach concluded the interaction by revealing that Mohun Bagan will be travelling for a 10-day preparatory camp in India and will play practice matches before the start of the new season.