ATK Mohun Bagan’s attacking-midfielder Hugo Boumous believes the squad has quality but the players need to show that on the ground to reach their goal.
“The team was very strong last season. There are arrivals and departures of players in all clubs. It is still early to judge the level of the team. One thing is certain, the quality is there and we will have to show it on the pitch,” Hugo said on Friday.
“Every season is different. The level of the game here in India is improving every year and the championship is getting harder.
“But I am confident of the capabilities of our players. I will, of course, give my all. The team reached the final last season. The next step is victory. We must be ambitious,” he said.
ATK Mohun Bagan will take on Kerala Blasters in the opening game of the ISL VIII on November 19.
In the next game, on November 27, they will lock horns with SC East Bengal.
When asked about the match against SC East Bengal, Hugo said: “I read about the history of this Derby to understand the importance of the game. I can’t wait to feel the fever. I want to experience the emotions I’ve heard about. Unfortunately due to Covid-19 protocols, this match will be different without fans but we will feel the intensity on the pitch, I’m sure.”
Hugo joined the team late but he is fully prepared for the tournament.
“I faced some problems before joining the squad. But all that is over. I am 100 per cent focused now and confident of doing well. “While I was away from the rest of the group, I trained hard,” he said.
Each team will be allowed to field four foreign players this season.
When asked about his opinion, Hugo said: “There are two different ways of looking at it. Forcing clubs to start with at least seven Indian players will ensure domestic players play more and surely evolve more quickly. For foreign players, it is a more restrictive decision since there will be one place less. We have no choice and so we will have to be the best to get our place in the playing XI.
“But, most importantly, there will be 11 highly motivated players to win the game for ATK Mohun Bagan,” he said.
Coach Antonio Lopez Habas has said that he is looking forward to seeing the combination of Joni Kauko and Hugo doing well in the ISL.
Like Hugo, Kauko is also ready to accept the challenge. “The coach has given me some responsibilities and I would give my 100 per cent to do my job. I know our target, so we have to work harder,” Kauko had posted on social media.