ATK Mohun Bagan is playing its inaugural season in the Indian Super League, while ATK was the defending champion, before being merged with Mohun Bagan this season. The side is currently placed second in the table, as it takes on table topper, Mumbai City FC.
ATK Mohun Bagan has a challenging task at hand. On Monday, it takes on table topper, Mumbai City FC, in the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL), at the Fatorda Stadium, in Bengaluru.
As of now, ATKMB is placed second in the table. While both the sides are undefeated in their previous five games, club striker, David Williams feels that it is the match of the season.
“I think it’s going to be the match of the season. This match is very important, as far as the league table is concerned. Both teams will jump for three points. Both teams have enough experience, talented coaches and footballers. As a result, the match seems to be exciting. This is a match where both the teams have to prove themselves,” said Williams to ATKMB, a day prior to the game.
“Mumbai plays a completely different kind of football. I don’t think we will get any extra advantage in this match, as we have won the Northeast match. It will be an absolutely different kind of exciting match. Viewers, supporters can also enjoy. There is no reason not to defeat Mumbai. I am very optimistic that we will be at the top of the league after Monday’s match,” Williams added.
However, club defender, Pritam Kotal chose to differ with his teammate, as he feels that nothing can match the intensity other than the Kolkata derby. “I do not agree to call the Mumbai match as a mega match. This match is not comparable with Kolkata Derby. Derby is an emotional match. There is a different kind of mental stress. There is no reason to give extra importance to Mumbai. All matches are difficult in ISL. Winning the Mumbai match will not be easy. But, we are the champion team. We have to defeat them while playing like champions. There is no place for complacency,” he said.
“It is a fact that winning the Northeast match has boosted the confidence of our team. That must be used. Mumbai is playing quite well this year. The team is maintaining a good position in the league table from the start. Giving neck to neck fight with us. That is why we have to win this match to increase our mental strength. Not thinking of anything other than three points,” he added.
Speaking of Mumbai’s gameplay, Kotal noted, “Their forwards are in good form. But, there is no reason to think that they will score breaking our defence. Our defence is still the best in the league. Our performance is the best among the 11 teams. We have kept our target intact in seven out of nine matches. We want to maintain that continuity. One more thing to say: If their Adam or Hugo Boumous are in good form, our Roy Krishna, Manvir, Williams are also in good form. I think the match will be enjoyable.”
Meanwhile, Shubhashis Basu was wary of Mumbai’s smart gameplay, as he said, “This time the Mumbai team looks different from the team. I played for last year. Let’s not compare. However, this time the coach of the Mumbai team is new. The coach who was engaged as the coach of the team Goa for a long time, now is the coach of Mumbai team. With the other new foreign players, he brought few players from Goa also. For that, Mumbai’s strength has increased. They are also at the top of the league table. As a result, there is no reason to underestimate the old team. We are going to play another tough match.”
“Our goal is to be at the top of the league table in the first round. The match must be won. There is no reason not to win if we can play our own game. We will jump for the goal by strengthening our defence. We have managed to keep our goals intact in seven of the nine matches. We are confident, but not complacent. Mumbai match is another new match. We are not thinking about what we’ve done before. We have kept in mind that we have to return to the dressing room with full points from this match,” he concluded.
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Last Updated Jan 10, 2021, 11:56 AM IST