ATK Mohun Bagan midfielder Hugo Boumous believes his team can regain their winning momentum, as the Mariners face off against Jamshedpur FC in Matchweek 19 of the Indian Super League (ISL) at the JRD Tata Sports Complex, in Jamshedpur, on Thursday.
The Kolkata-based side have not made the most of their position on the table and have slipped below in the standings in fifth place after mixed results in the last five games that included two wins, two draws, and one loss. Boumous wants his side to move on from their defeat against Bengaluru FC and address those mistakes in the upcoming game.
“We have to bounce back. I think no one here is happy with our last game’s performance where we lost important points against one of our rivals Bengaluru FC, who are also fighting for the playoff spots. So, we have to go to Jamshedpur, make changes to what went wrong in the last game, go ahead with only one mentality as the coach said and win the game, there is no other solution,” stated Boumous, who accompanied head coach Juan Ferrando in the pre-match press conference.
After the 2-1 defeat to Bengaluru FC in the previous game, Ferrando revealed that his side had lost confidence at the hour mark and was unhappy with the team’s performance. Reflecting on that performance, Boumous highlighted how the team needs to gather courage and be united throughout the game to get the desired results.
“About losing confidence after a certain time in the game, I think the solution is that we have to stick together. We all need to have the same mentality and the same mind about the way we want to play during those 90 minutes. We are a good team with a lot of quality players, Indian and foreign. Those players are proven, we don’t have a lot of young players (in our team) who don’t have any experience. No one in this team (has lack of experience) apart from some young lads on the bench,” he said.
“We need to keep having an attacking mentality to go all the way to score a goal and not only one goal after which you start defending, football is not like that. You score one goal, if you are sure about your quality, you go for a second, a third, that’s the quality of big teams, and I think we have the quality for that. We can’t have a minimalist approach in our games,” he added.
The race for the playoffs is not slowing down and more than five teams are still in contention, longing for the remaining four spots. ATK Mohun Bagan have slipped below Kerala Blasters FC and FC Goa in the fifth place, but are level on points with the Gaurs and have a game in hand. And a victory against Jamshedpur FC away will hand a vital boost in their hopes of making it to the playoffs. Boumous, however, warned his team to be aware of their opponent’s game.
“If we win, it’s not a miracle, we should be winning with the quality we have but the quality doesn’t mean anything if we don’t use these qualities to manage a win. We have to be humble. Jamshedpur FC still have good quality, they’re solid in defence and have some physical players. They’re more trained to play long balls from the back end to their striker. If you watched their last game against Mumbai City FC two weeks ago, Mumbai City FC struggled to beat them so that shows it won’t be easy,” he said.
ATK Mohun Bagan Indian forwards have been strugged in front of goal this season, with the responsibility of scoring goals and creating chances falling onto the shoulder of the foreign contingent in Dimitri Petratos and Boumous, who have contributed to more than half of the team’s chances and goals. On being questioned whether the young Indian players are getting succumbed to the crowd atmosphere, the attacking midfielder expressed his views on handling pressure at the top level of football.
“It’s exciting, that’s why you play football. If you can’t handle the pressure, you don’t play football. If you’re not at that level, you don’t play football, that’s pressure. This is what makes you improve in football, in life. Someone else will come and take your place because there are more than 20 players in the squad. If you’re the best, you get the best contract, play for the national team,” he said.
“If you can’t handle the pressure then go play for an amateur league or a local league. For example, the derby in front of 60,000 people, if you’re not up to the standard to manage this kind of crowd, this kind of atmosphere, then don’t play. Maybe, it’ll affect them, they’re young, maybe they have not seen this in the past but they have to work to manage it,” Boumous concluded. (ANI)