ISL: ATK Mohun Bagan coach Antonio Lopez Habas fears injuries can derail plans

Habas feels all teams are under-prepared and injury management will be key in a long ISL season.

By Rahul Venkat

There are exciting times for ATK Mohun Bagan in the Indian Super League (ISL) this season.

ATK, as they were known until last season, had won three ISL titles, making them the most successful team in the league. Starting ISL 2020-21, they merged with another successful Indian football club in Mohun Bagan and were rechristened ATK Mohun Bagan (ATMKB).

The pressure is certainly high for ATKMB coach Antonio Lopez Habas, who has won the ISL twice in the past. The Spaniard though was worried about one major factor going into the new season, starting Friday.

“Honestly, we did not get the time to do the right kind of preparation needed to begin the season,” Habas told PTI.

With the COVID-19 pandemic making it difficult to plan the season on time, ISL teams are under-prepared.

“The footballers did not get on-field training for the (number of) days they needed. There was no opportunity to play many practice matches. After such a short period of practice, there is a possibility that the footballers will get injured. I'm afraid of injuries,” stated Habas.

However, Habas said injury concerns can’t be an excuse for not playing good football. 

“The situation is almost the same for all the teams,” said Habas.

ATK Mohun Bagan begin their ISL 2020-21 season against two-time finalists Kerala Blasters on Friday. 

ATK, in their previous guise, had lost both league matches to Kerala Blasters in the previous ISL season and will look to begin the new phase with a win.