Football

ISL 2020-21: Antonio Habas – ATK Mohun Bagan will not be overconfident despite a great start to the season

The Spanish coach hailed Marcelinho as one of the best players in the league…

ATK Mohun Bagan have got off to a flying start in the Indian Super League (ISL) after winning the first two matches against Kerala Blasters and East Bengal respectively. Although they are yet to get into their stride, the team did enough to seal the six points on offer so far and sit in pole position in the table. 

However, head coach Antonio Lopez Habas made it clear that there’s no room for complacency or over-confidence. 

“We have to continue winning the matches after winning the first two. We are not overconfident. The players are fantastic professionals. I have the idea to win every day. It was important to win the first two matches. It is equally important to win all the matches till the final. We are happy with our performance but we have to keep winning,” stated the coach before facing Odisha FC on Wednesday evening. 

He also revealed that Edu Garcia still remains injured but will recover soon and might be available against Jamshedpur whom they face on Monday after the Odisha game.  

Bagan have to play six matches in December but the coach is optimistic that his team is ready for the challenge. 

“We are preparing. Maybe the fixture schedule is not the best in the world. But it is necessary due to the Covid situation. No excuses. We are prepared to play against all rivals.”

Habas has coached against Stuart Baxter previously in his managerial career during his stint in South Africa, first for Mamelodi Sundowns and then for Bidvest Wits. The Spaniard heaped praise on his opposite number and believes that Odisha will benefit from Baxter’s experience. 

“I know Stuart Baxter from my time In South Africa. He is an experienced coach. He has a fantastic CV. I respect him and so does he. We have worked a long time ago. It would work well for Odisha.”

The former Bolivia manager also spoke highly of Marcelinho, who will be one of Odisha’s key players, and termed him as ‘one of the best’ in ISL. 

“Marcelinho is one of the best players in ISL. Maybe last season he was going through a rough patch.  He is good at setpieces and is a good playmaker. But we are prepared for him,” said the tactician. 

Although the Mariners have picked up full points from their first two matches, they have not been at their best. Habas agrees that his team needs to improve physically and he hopes that by January the whole squad will be at 100 per cent. 

“Looking at the circumstances I must say that all teams are on the same page. We are seven months without competition. To be in perfect shape now is difficult. This is a strange situation. We have to come to Goa where there is so much humidity. We are at 75-80 per cent and hopefully, in January we will be 100 per cent,” signed off the coach. 

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