ATK Mohun Bagan’s manager Juan Ferrando has stated that they won’t change their approach for the first leg semifinal against Hyderabad FC, which will be played at the G.M.C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium, Hyderabad on Thursday.
The Mariners won their last three matches of the tournament and they will look to continue the good show. They had beaten Odisha FC by 2-0 in the knockout game and would want to be at their best against the Nizams.
When both of these teams had met earlier in the season, they won one match each against one another at their respective home turf by 1-0.
The Spaniard stated that the team will look to be aggressive against Hyderabad FC and control spaces in the attack. Ferrando added that the team will look to execute their plans against the hosts.
“Our plan is the same all the time, the team will try to concentrate on attack and control the spaces on attack. Our plan is the same for a semi-final or even in the finals, yes it is necessary to control the transition against Hyderabad FC because everybody knows what (Mohammad) Yasir, (Akash) Mishra or Joel (Chianese) are capable of. But our approach is the same all the time, try to keep the ball, progress in the buildup, to be in the correct position to attack, control the space and time. This is the same plan throughout the season and some details may change but won’t change the whole plan,” Ferrando said in the pre-match press conference.
Meanwhile, Bartholomew Ogbeche has scored five goals against ATK Mohan Bagan. The Nigerian has been in prolific form in the ongoing season, scoring 10 goals in 19 matches. However, Ferrando added their focus will be on the entire team rather than one player in the big clash.
“We aren’t worried about one single player but (our focus) is on the whole team. Of course, Ogbeche is a very good player and very good scorer, not only this season but for the last four seasons for many different teams. But our focus is on the team because we play 11 vs 11, so it’s very important to control a lot of things. It takes one opportunity for both teams to reach the final,” he added.
“We never focus on only one player and they (HFC) are in the semi-final, which is not the result of one player. A team would reach the semi-final because a lot of players are working well and the players work in the same plan. Of course, both teams want to be in Goa on 18th of March. But at this moment, we are thinking about our plan, our team, our players, and trusting our way, I hope we will be in the final after these two matches,” the Spaniard said.
The gaffer added that it will be imperative for his team to control the game and gain an advantage in the first leg before playing at their home.
“These two-legged semi-finals have 180 minutes to play, it’s very important to control a lot of details. It’s impossible to reach the final after the first match but it is important to control the details in the first match itself because you may lose the semi-final in the first leg itself. For example, in the last season, it was difficult for us to (come back) after the 3-1 defeat against Hyderabad FC in the first leg. So It’s important to get (some points) in the first leg itself,” he added.