ISL 2021-22: ATKMB head coach Antonio Habas calls for improvement despite 4-2 win over Kerala Blasters: Last season’s finalists ATK Mohun Bagan start their new Indian Super League campaign with a bang as they defeated Kerala Blasters 4-2 on the opening night. The Mariners took the early lead through Hugo Boumous as Roy Krishna and Liston Colaco also joined the party.
While the Green and Maroons were rampant in the first half, the Kerala Blasters came back strongly in the second. The Yellow Army showed spells of great buildup and were not clinical enough to cause more trouble for the ATKMB backline. However, Sahal Abdul Samad scored a great goal in the first half and Jorge Pereyra Diaz scored one in the second to cut down the deficit.
First points on the board! 😎⚽️
— ATK Mohun Bagan FC (@atkmohunbaganfc) November 19, 2021
Speaking after the match, ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Antonio Lopez Habas was not completely happy with his team’s performance. Especially the way they slacked off in the second half allowing the Kochi based outfit to take more control of the game and dominate possession.
“We have good players but we will have to improve a lot. I am not happy with our performance in the second half. The team was relaxing and I don’t want that. We have to improve many things,” Habas started off at the post-match press conference.
ISL 2021-22: The Mariners broke the bank to get hold of Mumbai City’s talisman, Hugo Boumous. ATKMB broke all transfer records to sign the Frenchman and he is already paying dividends in the first match itself. However, Habas is more concerned about his team as a collective unit and less about Boumous’ individual brilliance. When asked about the midfielder maestro the Spanish tactician quipped, “Yes Boumous is a good player, but we have a lot of good players. We have to build a team and not point out a single player.”
It was a really open game with both sides looking to take the initiative. While ATKMB were rampant in the first half, they allowed the Blasters to take charge of the second half. However, both sides had a flurry of chances and therefore Habas was not happy with the precision of his forwards and felt that they could have scored more goals.
“We had many opportunities in the game to score more goals. But it is the first match and we need more precision. I am happy with the three points but we need to improve on our second-half performance,” the 64-year-old stated.
The Indian Super League from this season will see a change where one extra Indian player will be allowed and the foreigner’s count has been chopped to only four. Although Habas agrees that it is good for the league, he mostly believes in the quality of the foreign players. He also highlights how his squad is perfectly balanced and have some of the young talents.“It is very good for the Indian Super League (ISL). But in my opinion, the more important part is foreign players coming to India with good quality.
“I think we have a good balance in the team. We don’t have many aged players, Subhashis (Bose) is only 26 so is Pritam (Kotal) and Deepak (Tangri) is even less. I am very happy with their performance and I hope they carry on doing well and get to play more for the national team,” the Spanish tactician highlighted.
Lastly, when quizzed about the preparation for the Kolkata Derby, the Spaniard was once again unfazed by all the hype as he feels that it is just another game in the league that his team needs to win. “We are totally focused on rest, recovery and then thinking about our next opponent, East Bengal. If you ask me then it is just another game in the ISL which we need to win,” Habas concluded.
ISL 2021-22: ATKMB head coach Antonio Habas calls for improvement despite 4-2 win over Kerala Blasters