After spending most of the season staring at the Mumbai City FC tail-lights, ATK Mohun Bagan finally have the chance to go clear at the top, if only for a short period of time. All Antonio Habas’ team has to do is secure three points when they take on Jamshedpur FC at the Fatorda Stadium on Sunday.
The odds are certainly in their favour — while ATKMB has been the best team defensively, Jamshedpur have struggled for goals all season, scoring just four in their last seven. And Habas struck a confident note ahead of the encounter.
“The team is good, the team is confident,” he said. “We are in the best way. Now we have to focus on the last four matches in case there is the opportunity to win the regular league. Every game, we focus on the next opponent.”
When the two teams met earlier in the season, it was Jamshedpur who came out on top. But Habas isn’t concerned about what happened in the past. “I don’t want to talk about the past,” he said. “All matches are different. All matches are difficult. Now we have to play this match like it’s the last.”
Habas will once again be counting on the likes of Roy Krishna and Marcelinho to make the difference. The latter, in particular, has been in spectacular form since joining from Odisha in January.
A win for Owen Coyle’s side will go a long way in helping them secure a top-four slot. A loss on the other hand will make it extremely difficult for them. But Coyle is nevertheless looking forward to the pressure that the late-season games bring.
“When you get to the business end of the season, these are the games that I used to look forward to as a player,” he said. “To play against the best players and the best teams. Tomorrow, we have the opportunity to do that. We are playing against a very good side, a side that we know well and is very good, one that we have tremendous respect for.”
Coyle will however need his attack to fire if Jamshedpur are to take anything out of the match. In their last game against Chennaiyin FC, they did not have a single shot on target before the late-winner. Just two goals in their last seven games have come in open play.
“The lads have been tremendous, the character and spirit they have shown. They have taken six points from the last nine. But now we have to keep picking up points so that’s what we need to do,” said Coyle.