Atletico de Kolkata bounced back after three straight defeats with a 4-1 win over Mumbai City FC in Mumbai as Iain Hume scored a hat-trick which sparked the emphatic triumph. But it was Atletico de Kolkata’s defensive display which earned a lot of plaudits as they kept the star-studded and highly potent attack quiet.
Augustine Fernandes, who was used by Coach Antonio Habas against Mumbai City, put in an impressive performance. He also scored a delightful goal for Atletico de Kolkata to restore their two-goal cushion just minutes after Mumbai City FC had halved the deficit.
Atletico take on NorthEast United at the Salt Lake stadium later today and will be looking to continue their good work from Mumbai. Fernandes spoke exclusively to Sportskeeda after his side’s win in Mumbai as he revealed the relief after the win, his versatility as a defender and the thoughts that went through his mind when he went on to score his first goal in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL).
Augustine, how important was the win against Mumbai City FC after three straight defeats?
It was a huge relief for us to get a win. In the games prior to that we hadn’t performed up to the standards that we expect and the results were bad. So against Mumbai City FC it was important for us to get our season back on track and I am happy we were able to do so with a win.
Now we must continue our good work and stay grounded. We have many games coming up and we have to look to kick on from here.
The defensive performance against Mumbai City was top class. They put you under a lot of pressure and won 18 corners in the game. How did you deal with their threat?
We knew before the game that playing Mumbai City was not going to be easy. And in this league, playing away from home is always difficult. We were not happy with our defending in the last few games and hence we had worked a lot on it in training. It was obviously not easy against the Mumbai City attack, but we stayed strong and never lost focus.
Even though we didn’t keep a clean sheet, I feel this performance was important for us.
The DY Patil Stadium is a lucky one for Atletico de Kolkata. You won the title here last season and seem to have started your revival here. What is so special about the venue?
It is, of course, a special venue for the team as we won our maiden title over here, but when we went to play there against Mumbai City, we didn’t think of what happened in the past and wanted to tackle what’s there in front of us. We are now looking forward to our next game against NorthEast United at home, which again won’t be easy, but we don’t want to take anything for granted as of yet.
It is still one win in four games and we must continue to win games.
Tell us about your goal against Mumbai City? What went through your mind while scoring the goal?
I was really happy I was able to contribute to the team in such a big way, with a goal at such a crucial moment. We wanted to keep the ball and kill their momentum after they scored and I felt we did it really well.
I just saw some space opening up in front of me and I decided to attack it. From there it was just my instincts which led to the goal. It was a nice moment for me and my team and I am happy that I was able to contribute.
Coach Antonio Habas has used you at left back and also at centre-back sometimes. How do you cope with it and which is your preferred position?
I am extremely delighted with the faith that my coach has shown in me. I don’t have a preferred position, I play where my coach wants me to play and my aim is to give my hundred percent wherever I play on the pitch. I played centre-back against Mumbai City, maybe against NorthEast United I may play left-back again. It doesn’t matter to me as I do as the coach asks me to do.