ATK Mohun Bagan

'We have to play with respect,' claims Juan Ferrando ahead of ATK Mohun Bagan's AFC Cup playoff

Arjun Singh Devgan
Juan Ferrando is the current head coach of ATK Mohun Bagan
Juan Ferrando is the current head coach of ATK Mohun Bagan / EuroFootball/GettyImages
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India footballing giants, ATK Mohun Bagan's head coach, Juan Ferrando has opened up on their upcoming AFC Cup playoff game against Sri Lanka side, Blue Star FC on April 12 - revealing that his team cannot underestimate their opponents.

ATK Mohun Bagan are scheduled to host Blue Star in the second preliminary round of the AFC Cup at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on April 12 and Ferrando has noticed that the Sri Lankan team has the tendency to play long balls and also follow the strategy of sending the ball to the left-wing from the right-back to turn the game.

"After playing slow football for a while, the team suddenly bursts into attack, creating more goalscoring opportunities. We have to be careful. There is no reason to underestimate Sri Lanka's Blue Star. The passing of the team is very good. Sometimes the team plays pressing football," he said as quoted by Times of India.

"The Sri Lankan club is always trying to send the ball over the head of the opposition. Their centre-back Chalan Chameera's game is a lot like out Carl McHugh. He is good at defending and also able to increase the correct pass. We have to remember that one of the best clubs of their country is coming to play and we have to play with respect. That's how we are getting ready," the Spaniard added.

Ferrando has been brilliant for the Mariners ever since replacing Antonio Habas mid-season and since his arrival the club has only lost two of the 16 matches they have played, while losing in the semi-final at the hands of eventual winners, Hyderabad FC last season.

Mohun Bagan for their part have a long road ahead of them if they are to qualify for the AFC Cup group stage. If they manage to get past Blue Star SC they will have to beat the winner of the other playoff tie between Abahani Limited Dhaka and Club Valencia of Maldives to reach the group stage where they will be placed in Group D alongside Bashundhara Kings of Bangladesh, Maziya of Maldives and Hero I-League champions Gokulam Kerala.

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