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Roy trains for ‘bubble’ battle

The ATK MohunBagan's sniper boy believes that four-five months’ isolation during ISL VII will surely affect players mentally
Roy Krishna

Angshuman Roy   |   Calcutta   |   Published 17.11.20, 04:07 AM

ATK Mohun Bagan’s super sniper Roy Krishna has likened life in a bio-bubble to an army camp and believes that four-five months’ isolation during ISL VII will surely affect players mentally.

“I definitely agree that living in a bio-secure environment will be affecting players mentally. I feel like we are in the army, leaving our family behind to come to a battle. It takes a lot of mental strength to stay positive and enjoy the sport while adhering to all the social distancing and Covid-19 protocols,” Krishna told The Telegraph on Monday.

Krishna though has found a way to dribble past bio-bubble blues. “I have been keeping in touch with my family and friends via video chats and it helps that I have good friends in the team too. I get to hang out with them within our bubble and have a good time outside of the training.”

Krishna is one of the five players chosen by coach Antonio Lopez to wear the captain’s armband this season and he agreed that senior players will have to play a big role in guiding youngsters whenever they feel depressed in such a restricted environment.

“This is obviously something that is expected of us as senior players and as one of the team captains, I take my role seriously not only to set an example, but also to also ensure all our teammates are happy and work together as team. With the added pressure of the current situation due to Covid-19, it does mean we need to be even more understanding and supportive of each other. Our main aim is to stay positive and keep the winning mentality.”

The seventh edition of ISL kicks off on Friday with ATK Mohun Bagan taking on Kerala Blasters. Krishna admits that the challenge is bigger this time.

“I feel everything is challenging already and it will only get more difficult when the season kicks off. It’s always exhilarating to play in front of a big crowd and this is something I’ve enjoyed a lot in India. Not having fans on the stands will be difficult to adjust to.”

Derby mood

Talking about the November 27 Derby clash against SC East Bengal, the 33-year-old said he was looking forward to the clash but added that other matches would be equally important.

“It’s exciting because it would be the first time that I will be part of such a historic and prominent Derby. I do hope to not disappoint.

“I’m looking forward to the Derby as much as the fans are. I know the Derby is probably of the most awaited matches but for me it is just as important as every match of the season. We are focused on winning and this is mentality we go with.

“We take each game as it comes and we prepare for them one at a time. No opponent is big or small. We respect every team and I know this year every team is coming with full force and the stakes are now high. We cannot afford to lose focus. Our aim is to win the Derby and every match we play.”

Despite scoring at will during his A-League days with Wellington Phoenix, Krishna was relatively unknown in India. But a stellar performance in the last ISL where he scored 15 goals for ATK has made him one of the prominent foreign payers in the league. Now, with Bagan fans also rooting for him, pressure and expectations will definitely increase.

“Expectations add to pressure but I think it’s good for me. It means I have my work cut out and the bar has been set higher than the last season. I’m grateful to the fans for always pushing me and in turn getting the best of out me. This would only encourage me to do better than last season and break my personal best in India.”

The Roy Krishna-David Williams combination did wonders for coach Antonio in ISL VI and Krishna is bullish on an encore in the seventh edition.

“David and I have played together for a few years now, both in the ISL and the A-League. We have a good bond and I feel that we know each other very well on the field and can set up some good goals between the two of us.

“The key to our success is good communication. We do hope to do much better this season. We get good support from the likes of Prabir (Das) and Pritam (Kotal).”

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