“Winning the AFC Cup is our main goal:” Juan Ferrando ahead of the AFC Cup clash against Odisha FC

Juan Ferrando's Mohun Bagan Super Giant will face Odisha FC on the first matchday of the AFC Cup at the Kalinga Stadium tomorrow.
Image - ISL
Image - ISL

Mohun Bagan Super Giant will face Odisha FC on the first matchday of the AFC Cup at the Kalinga Stadium, Odisha on 19th September. This will be Odisha's inaugural entry in the prestigious competition. This much-anticipated clash will mark the beginning of their journey in Group D of the south zone, alongside other prominent teams such as Bashundhara Kings from Bangladesh and Maziya Sports & Recreation Club from Maldives. The teams will compete in the group stage matches, which will be held on a home-and-away basis. Securing the top position in the group will grant them a spot in the inter-zone play-off semi-finals.

Thoughts on Odisha FC ahead of the AFC Cup opener

Juan Ferrando explained a lot about their opponents and the preparation Mohun Bagan is doing ahead of the AFC Cup in the pre-match press conference. He clearly stated that Mohun Bagan is not taking anyone lightly.

"It's much the same. So the preparation is working hard. Obviously, they might be a very, very tough opponent. The match will be difficult. They have a very good squad, they have very good players. So, we have to be focused through the whole 90 minutes."

Can the Mariners carry on their Durand Cup-winning momentum in the AFC Cup?

Juan Ferrando wants his team to focus only on the AFC Cup right now as this is the present. And If the Mariners have to go deep in the competition, the focus will play a huge role and the coach knows it.

"No, because this is the past, our focus is on tomorrow. Durand Cup is a different competition. It is a new competition. It is a new tournament. This was two weeks ago in football. The most important is the present. So I think it is best to keep focus on the present time and forget the emotions for the last tournaments or the last matches. It's not necessary to consider because we have an important match tomorrow," he explained.

Thoughts on Ashique Kuruniyan's injury

Ashique Kuruniyan's knee injury will keep him outside of the match for the rest of the season. Mohun Bagan head coach expressed his disappointment for losing Ashique but at the same time he also voiced an important message for the player and told him to stay strong as the players often lose their mental state after sustaining injuries like these.

"Yeah, we are very disappointed, of course, because my point of view when the squad is very, very good, We have very good players. But I'm happy because, you know, sometimes it's difficult to find two or three players in the same position with good performance. In my case, I have a list, I'm very happy for them, but we are disappointed but it's part of football and I repeat in the dressing room. Also the medical staff, the the coaching staff are trying to do their best for him to prepare the plan because not only the injury, you know, sometimes it's the thoughts of the player thinking about it is not possible to help the team in this season. It's difficult to lose him. It is difficult, but it is part of football," Juan Ferrando said.

The Mariners can follow Manchester City's road to glory

Juan Ferrando has a belief their team can lift the title if they can stay focused enough and competitive throughout the season and drew a comparison with Pep Guardiola's Manchester City on how they went on their own created path to lift the UCL title.

"We have a big responsibility because it's a difficult tournament to reach the semi-finals and very difficult to reach the final after the group stages. But we're very excited. Our mentality is to go upward and to improve. The most important is for this club to try, try, and try to get to the final and maybe in one season we'll have success," Juan Ferrando said.

"All the big clubs won big trophies because they've been fighting for the past 3-4 seasons before the achievement. For example, in Europe, Manchester City have been fighting in the Champions League semi-finals for many seasons and only last season they had the success of winning the competition for the first time. Obviously, we want to win the AFC Cup, this is our dream, but it's necessary for us to try and try every season and hope to win the trophy for this club in one year," he concluded with.

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