ATK Mohun Bagan Star Pritam Kotal Reflects on His Team's Indian Super League 2020-21 Campaign

Mudeet Arora
Pritam Kotal has spoken up about his journey with ATK Mohun Bagan to the ISL final last season
Pritam Kotal has spoken up about his journey with ATK Mohun Bagan to the ISL final last season / Pakawich Damrongkiattisak/Getty Images

One of the few Indian footballers to have featured in all seven Indian Super League seasons, two time ISL title winner, ATK Mohun Bagan defender Pritam Kotal has spoken up about himself and his team's 2020-21 season.

ATK Mohun Bagan were beaten by Mumbai City FC, who claimed the ISL title for a first time. And the 27-year-old defender has spoken to ISL's official website on a lot of things including the AFC Cup.

Speaking about what went wrong against Mumbai City FC in the final, Kotal said, "I tried to find out the exact reasons by going through all the crucial moments of the matches against them after the Hero ISL got over. In our first match, the goal scored by [Bartholomew] Ogbeche was the result of mistakes committed by us."

He added, "As a team, we played quite well in that match. Before Ogbeche’s goal, Edu Garcia had almost scored. Unfortunately, the ball hit the inner portion of the post and came back. In the second leg also, small mistakes let us down."

Tactically speaking, Kotal stated, "We knew they are good at set-pieces. Mourtada Fall, Ogbeche, Adam le Fondre all are good with their heads. That’s why we were asked to mark them closely by our coach. But we couldn’t do that perfectly. We were not allowed to commit any foul in front of our box. But we let that happen. They took that opportunity too. Later, we tried a lot to score. But we failed to do that. Maybe, in the second leg match, we didn’t deserve the win. But in the first leg and the final, we played like a winner."

Kotal was then asked about ATK Mohun Bagan's drop in form and performance in the final part of last season in the ISL to which he replied, "A good team always goes ahead maintaining a flow. We also kept going in the league phase with consistency. But some of our main players like Edu, Javier [Hernandez], Carl [McHuge] had injury problems at regular intervals and in crucial parts of the competition."

He concluded by stating these reasons for a dip in their form and performance as he said, "If you can remember, we missed both Tiri and Sandesh [Jhingan] in the first leg of the semifinal. We got affected mainly for this reason. But the players, who replaced them, played well. But injuries in crucial matches cost us heavily. It affected the balance of our team combination."