ISL 2020-21, Kolkata derby: ATK Mohun Bagan coach Habas prepared for unknown East Bengal

ISL Kolkata derby: ATK Mohun Bagan coach Antonio Habas said that unknown East Bengal's tactics is not an advantage for his rival.

ATK Mohun Bagan players hit the ground running ahead of the much-anticipated Kolkata derby against East Bengal.   -  special arrangement

ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Antonio Lopez Habas admitted he knows little of new entrant SC East Bengal but said it doesn’t give the opponent the advantage ahead of their much-anticipated Indian Super League (ISL) Kolkata derby clash here on Friday.

ATKMB started off its ISL campaign with a 1-0 win over Kerala Blasters while for SC East Bengal the derby will be its opening match of the tournament.

Little is known about the red and gold brigade that has been built from the scratch by Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler just a month before the start following its dramatic ISL entry.

“We have information about Fowler’s last job in Australia with Brisbane (Roar). I had to see their performance, behavior, system and many things but the information we have is little,” Habas said on the eve of the match.

The Spaniard, however, disagreed that it’s advantage SC East Bengal.

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“Maybe it’s good that we played a match and maybe it’s better for East Bengal because we don’t know how East Bengal plays. It’s something that we have to accept in a competition. For me, it’s not an advantage (for East Bengal),” said Habas.

“I don’t worry. We have to respect all the teams. Maximum respect to all the opponents and play good football.”

For Habas, winning is an obsession and the Spaniard is all focused on getting three points from the season’s first derby here on Friday.

Traditional rivals Mohun Bagan and East Bengal will clash in top-flight ISL for the first time ever since their mergers with ATK and Shree Cement respectively.

In this special Full Time Show podcast, we take a look at the history and memorable matches of the Kolkata derby and what the inclusion of ATK Mohun Bagan and SC East Bengal means to the Indian Super League (ISL).

 

 

“It’s important but you never know what is the most important match in your career. I coached Bolivia (in Copa America). All matches are different and now for me I have the maximum concentration to win (against East Bengal). This is my obsession,” Habas said.

“I think the derby is a special match but only for a week before and after the match. It’s an important match for me because I know what the intensity is in Kolkata and what it (Kolkata derby) means for Kolkata supporters.

“I think the pressure is on both the teams. You have 90 minutes to execute your concept and idea of play. I don’t know what the scoreline will be.”

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Finishing seemed a concern for ATKMB against Kerala as Roy Krishna failed to convert as many as three chances in the first half.

“It’s natural that the performance of players after seven months’ (break) is not perfect. We need time but I am very happy with the performance of the central department (midfield),” Habas said.

“We are training for the match. I need my players ready for the match, notafter the match. This is the idea. I want them to compete well in the match.”

The match may see the dream combination of Roy Krishna and David Williams up front. The Aussie was not picked in the starting XI against Kerala.

But Habas remained tightlipped.

“I don’t know. I have to talk to the players before the match. They know what is the first XI a day before and the match plan will be explained to the players,” he said.

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