ATK Mohun Bagan will face an uphill task against Uzbek outfit FC Nasaf Qarshi in the Inter-Zonal semifinals in the AFC Cup. But defender Subhashis Bose is optimistic of their chances to go through. The Mariners will miss playmaker Hugo Boumous and defensive midfielder Deepak Tangri for this clash but head coach Antonio Lopez Habas will feel that new signing Joni Kauko will make a mark on his club debut.
The Indian Super League outfit will also miss Sandesh Jhingan after the Indian defender joined Croatian outfit HNK Sibenik. Therefore Bose was quizzed how difficult it has been in defence without their Indian superstar. To which he said, “Our defence has played well enough in all three matches in the Maldives. Carl has adapted in a very short time. The last time in the ISL, we played with three defenders, sometimes with four defenders. That’s not a problem. Our coach has already given us a lesson on how to play against Nasaf. Only by organizing the defence will we jump for victory.”
Considering ATKMB’s three back system, Habas prefers a lot of the wing play. Also with Michael Soosairaj and Prabir Das’ entry to the team things may get more serious on the flanks. Therefore Bose opens up on how the team has practised a lot on wing players.
“In the last six days, we have practised a variety of wing play. The coach explained to us where Nasaf’s strengths and weaknesses are. The coach will decide how far we will go and how we will stop them. I do not want to say more than that,” Bose revealed.
The 26-year-old has a dream of winning the AFC Cup and he feels that the Mariners are determined to fulfil that dream this season. Bose feels that they have the arsenal to beat FC Nasaf.
“It is my dream to be the AFC Cup champion. We are all determined to fulfil that dream. Our team is strong enough. With the arrival of Kauko, Soosai Raj and Prabir, our strength has increased. If we can win the Nasaf match, it will be difficult to stop us,” the left-back opened up.
Lastly, the former Mumbai City FC highlighted how the team has improved this season with the arrival of players like Joni Kauko and has a very successful coach in place and believes that these are their strengths. Coming to weaknesses he left that for FC Nasaf to find out.
“Our strength is our team’s solidarity. Our team is stronger than last time. There is a successful coach like Habas. There are people like Roy Krishna, David, Manvir for scoring goals. We have the best footballers of the national team in midfield and defence. Our reserve bench is also quite strong.
“And weakness? Why should I say that? The opponent has to find it out as we are searching for their weakness,” he concluded.