Believe in team and not individuals: ATK coach Habas

Mumbai, Sep 26 (IANS) Atletico de Kolkata’s (ATK) coach Antonio Lopez Habas on Saturday said he will not depend primarily on marquee footballer Portuguese Helder Postiga and will be focussing on the entire team for its title defence.

Postiga has represented his national team 71 times scoring 27 goals. The striker, 33, is also ISL’s youngest marquee player.

He has played in top European clubs like Porto, Valencia, Lazio, Sporting Lisbon and Tottenham Hotspur. But Habas stressed that he would not be ATK’s lone warrior.

“I am happy with how Postiga is shaping up, but for me it is about the team and not individuals. You have to collectively play well as a team to win the trophy again,” Habas said.

Speaking about boosting their midfield this time around with the likes of South African Sameehg Doutie, Spaniards Jaime Gavilan Martinez, and Javi Lara, Habas said; “We need to create a good balance between attack and defence.”

It was an injury-time header from Mohammad Rafique in last year’s ISL final that helped Atletico lift the trophy in the inaugural edition. But his efforts failed to get him a contract with any franchise. ATK also didn’t renew his services. Habas thanked him for his efforts but said there was no role for him in this year’s outfit.

“I am thankful to his (Rafique’s) contributions but he has no role now, a lot of others have come in and we could only take 26 players in the squad, and we have signed them already,” Habas said.

Habas also added that the league is short and if one makes mistakes it will be difficult to recover, also sounding confident of going into their season opener against Chennaiyin FC on October 3.

“No pressure on us. We are well prepared, it will be a difficult game, but I am confident,” he said.

“We have good attackers, good defence so hopefully we will do well.”

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