Juan Ferrando, head coach of ATK Mohun Bagan, was disappointed with his team’s failure to win the 2022 AFC Cup opener.
The ISL side lost 2-4 to the Gokulam Kerala at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday evening. “We had so many chances in the first half. The score was good and then in the second half due to injuries we got unlucky. The counter-attacks and transitions were difficult for the team. There are no excuses for the loss. It’s now necessary to put our focus in the next matches which are on Saturday and Tuesday,” said Ferrando in a post-match press conference, as per the ISL website.
“Tiri’s injury was crucial because we had to change our plan. Then I thought about using Ashutosh Mehta for the transitions. We took the decision and we changed the formation as players like Joni Kauko and David Williams were very tired – because of the weather. We were not ready for the transition. In our case, in the first half we had chances but we were unlucky. This is past now. We need to learn from our mistakes,” he added.
The head coach went on to say that his team must accept their defeat and focus on their upcoming games.
“Gokulam Kerala and we played under the same conditions. To be honest, in the first half, the match was even. In the second half, may be the players were tired. When you’re down 2-0, 2-1, 3-1, the psychology is not same. When you’re up 3-1, may be the weather is very hot, but you want to run because your team is ahead by two goals. But if you are down, the psychology plays its role. We are training more or less at the same time. It’s necessary to accept the loss and learn from this result,” said the head coach.
A brace from Luka Majcen, as well as goals from Rishad and Jithin MS, helped the visitors seal the deal in a game marked by too many defensive errors from ATKMB. Pritam Kotal and Liston Colaco scored from set-pieces for the Mariners, but they were unable to match Gokulam’s pressure.
On Saturday, ATK Mohun Bagan will face Bashundhara Kings, while Gokulam Kerala will face Maziya in Group D.
(Inputs from ANI)