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regular-article-logo Monday, 20 May 2024

Mohun Bagan coach Juan Ferrando takes one step at a time, chalks out plans for season ahead

Spaniard, who masterminded Mohun Bagan Super Giant’s ISL IX triumph in March and signed one-year contract with club on Tuesday

Angshuman Roy Calcutta Published 15.06.23, 04:27 AM
Mohun Bagan coach Juan Ferrando

Mohun Bagan coach Juan Ferrando Twitter

Juan Ferrando has no time to rest. The Spaniard, who masterminded Mohun Bagan Super Giant’s ISL IX triumph in March and signed a one-year contract with the club on Tuesday, is busy chalking out plans for the season ahead.

“Planning started the day the season ended for us. You need meticulous planning, which player is to be signed, which player could be offloaded. Details need to be drawn on the pre-season,” Ferrando told The Telegraph on Wednesday. He is right now not in Spain “but somewhere scouting for players”.

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The one-year contract raised a few eyebrows but the 42-year-old has no problems with that. “One-year contracts are the best. I have been in this club since the middle of ISL VII so I have a fair idea about the needs of this club. So from now on, I will take it one year at a time,” he said.

Ferrando’s main challenge will be the AFC Cup. Bagan last year thought the AFC Cup was there for the taking but got a reality check against Kuala Lumpur City FC, losing 1-3 in the inter-zonal semi-finals. “Yes, it’s an important tournament for us. We aspire to compete with top teams from the continent. But as always I will take one step at a time. The first target will be clearing the group stage,” he said.

Mohun Bagan will see some good additions to the squad for the new season. India player Anirudh Thapa will sign the contract once the Indian assignment finishes, defender Anwar Ali has already been roped in and Bagan are on the verge of signing Australian league’s top striker Jason Cummins.

With Anwar in, Pritam Kotal, one of the standout players for Bagan last season, is moving to Kerala Blasters. Midfielder Joni Kauko is not expected to be fit before December and will be released. Bagan are also mulling to do away with Hugo Boumous. They are looking to bolster the defence by signing 22-year-old Hormipam Ruivah who excelled for Blasters last season.

Ferrando is excited to have Thapa but had a word of caution for the 25-year-old midfielder.

“I know him for the last three years. He was the captain of Chennaiyin FC. But playing for Bagan is a different ballgame. The pressure, constant scrutiny and expectations from fans can unnerve young players. That’s why control of emotions is very important. Thapa will have to keep that in mind.”

Critics do not lose a chance to take a swipe at Mohun Bagan top boss Sanjiv Goenka’s splurging streak when it comes to getting players but Ferrando believes money does not help to win titles.

“Have you seen Manchester City? It took Pep Guardiola and Man City owners seven years to complete a treble. You need a good team to win titles. It’s the same at Bagan. We build a team and that team gives the results.”

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