Juan Ferrando: Our job is to win and leave behind a legacy

Juan Ferrando on the sidelines during an ISL match

ATK Mohun Bagan has evolved a lot under head coach Juan Ferrando as the Spaniard has helped the club move away from the dependence on certain star players to play a better brand of football. 

Roy Krishna, David Williams, Amrinder Singh, and Sandesh Jhingan were among the several players moved on by the Mariners ahead of the 2022-23 Indian Super League season as the likes of Dimitrios Petratos and Ashique Kuruniyan were roped in to fill the huge holes.

The Mariners lost the season opener against 2-time ISL champions Chennaiyin and many fans and pundits criticized the manager’s tactics but Ferrando has led the club back to positive results including a 5-2 win against Kerala Blasters and a 2-0 win against East Bengal in the Kolkata Derby.

Mohak Arora sat down with Mr Ferrando to pick his mind and take some of the questions that have been running through the minds of the fans across the country. 

When asked about the turnaround, the head coach said,

“Our target now is FC Goa. We are focused on game by game. It is the most important thing. Obviously winning is important for everyone’s confidence.”

Discussing the mood in the dressing room before the big pressure match against title-favorites Kerala Blasters, the Spaniard said,

“My work and that of the players is valued for the results. We are not valued for the process. That’s why there is pressure. I think every day about improving the club, the team, and the players. 

He continued,

“All defeats affect. Obviously, the AFC cup was a very tough defeat. It affected all the players and all the staff. There were illusions, dreams and high expectations with that match”

On a very similar note, the discussion switched to the mood of the players after the huge Kolkata Derby win and the head coach didn’t show any emotions. He said,

“It was 3 more points. Always after a game, it is important to think about the next one and control your emotions. A result depends on other situations that I can’t control( weather, the plan of the opponent, referee decisions, etc…).”

ATK Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal is the biggest football match in the country that attracts thousands and lakhs of supporters every year. The Mariners have come out on top in every Kolkata Derby in the ISL and Mr. Ferrando spoke about that along with playing in front of the fans after Covid-19 forced the league to be played behind closed doors for two consecutive seasons.

He said,

“The atmosphere was amazing. It is wonderful to play football in this atmosphere. Is very motivating for players to play in these circumstances.  It’s wonderful. Difficult because adapting to pressure is not easy. But very happy to do the job in front of our fans. 

Talking about adapting to the club and training with all the attacking talent at the club, the Spanish head coach has been delighted with the experience so far.

The 41-year old said,

“ATKMB is a big club. The job of the staff and club members is to give a personality to the game. It is wonderful to see them train and see the talent that they all have. It is a very difficult decision to select the starting XI. Our job, in addition to winning, is to leave a legacy. One way, one methodology or philosophy.”

After joining the club mid-season in ISL 2021-22, Ferrando has hugely benefitted ahead of this season as the club had a proper pre-season participating in the AFC Cup and the Durand Cup allowing the players to get acclimatized to the head coach’s demands.

On that, Juan concluded,

“I am never completely satisfied. It always has to be improved. But I talk about my work. I can only thank the club for trying to do things well. I know will do much better every day and take better decisions together.”