(Football news) The spotlight will be on ATK Mohun Bagan's dugout when the big dogs of Indian football go head to head against NorthEast United FC in the 2021-22 Hero Indian Super League at the PJN Stadium in Fatorda on Tuesday.
ATK Mohun Bagan decided to sack head coach Antonio Lopez Habas on Saturday after going winless for four matches which is their longest in ISL history. ATKMB are currently seventh in the league table with eight points from six games. Habas had won the ISL with ATK in 2014 and 2019-20 becoming the first manager to win the title twice.
Juan Ferrando will take Habas' place at the ATKMB camp but it remains to be seen whether the highly-rated Spanish boss is on the bench on Tuesday. Ferrando himself got off to the worst possible start with FC Goa, losing the first three games before back-to-back victories against SC East Bengal and Bengaluru FC steadied the Goa ship.
The Mariners will need to have their defense sorted. They have kept only one clean sheet this season. It’s not just that they are conceding more goals, they are conceding more shots and shots on target, inside the box.
Interim Coach Manuel Cascallana said, "The players are the principal actors now that the coach is not here. The responsibility lies with them. If you lose, you cannot blame the coach or tactics. The players need to step up and grab their moment. The only objective now should be to win the three points."
Assistant Coach Bastab Roy does not think the current managerial situation will impact the team's performance. "The players are professionals. The only aim will be play well and win the match," said Roy.
NorthEast on the other hand are placed ninth in the table with seven points from the same number of matches, a 2-0 win against SC East Bengal has been a shot in the arm. Without the services of defender Hernan Santana and striker Deshorn Brown, NEUFC played really well in the second half with Khassa Camara starring.
Kamara had 93 touches of the ball, the most he has had in a single match in the Hero ISL. The 93 touches were also the most by a NEUFC player in a match this season. It was also the most touches by any player that evening.
"They (ATKMB) have a good team but we are thinking only about ourselves. We did some good work in our last game and we need to continue that. The players are in a positive frame of mind and looking to continue the momentum. Only way is to work hard and get what we want from the game," said coach Khalid Jamil on the eve of the game. Jamil also confirmed that Deshorn Brown and Hernan Santana are fit and will be considered for selection against Bagan.