'We have the capacity to change systems during a match or before it,' Antonio Habas basks in his side's impressive victory over Mumbai City FC
At the start of the fixture against Mumbai City FC, Antonio Habas sprung a major surprise when he opted for a four-man defence. In the process, Pronay Halder was brought into the fold at the expense of Michael Soosairaj as ATK looked to capitalize on the Islanders’ weaknesses.
On being asked what prompted that particular change, the Spanish manager said,
We have the capacity to change systems during the match or even before it. We have a model of play that can be changed and we have to adapt accordingly. Today, we thought the best manner to play against Mumbai was to play this [a back four].
Throughout the contest, David Williams and Roy Krishna wreaked havoc in Mumbai’s defensive third, with the Islanders finding it immensely tough to contain the pair’s movement.
Today, we felt that that was the best tactic to use against Mumbai and play on the counter attack. I am happy with how it worked. Maybe, Mumbai had a chance to score one goal but I was pleased with what I saw.
Further, he talked about how his side showed exemplary defensive organization to thwart everything the hosts threw at them. For a major chunk of the second half, Mumbai whipped in crosses from wide areas and overloaded the box. Yet, ATK passed that test with flying colours, with new signing, Victor Mongil putting in a colossal performance at the heart of the defence.
Mongil played a very good game and despite only training for one week he was excellent. I knew him from before at the Real Madrid academy and knew that we needed a replacement in light of the injuries we had.
He also elaborated on how highly he rated Sumit Rathi, a fact emphasized by the Spaniard preferring the Indian to perform the unenviable task of keeping Modou Sougou quiet. Habas also stressed that the defender was extremely good tactically and technically and that he felt he could be a huge player for India moving forward.
Thus, on the back of a commanding away performance, the Spaniard made all the right noises as he masterminded his side’s route to the perch of the ISL table, again.
And, if ATK keep churning out such displays, it would take a brave man to bet against them reaching the semi-finals.