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ATK Mohun Bagan v Kerala Blasters

Antonio Habas - A referee can commit one or two mistakes, but not three in the same match

10:41 GMT 30/01/2021
Antonio Habas ATK Mohun Bagan ISL 7
The Spanish coach remained cautious ahead of facing an 'improved' Kerala Blasters side...

After their third defeat in the ongoing Indian Super League (ISL) season against NorthEast United earlier this week, ATK Mohun Bagan will hope to get back to winning ways when they take on Kerala Blasters on Sunday.

The Mariners are currently in the second position on the league table but are six points behind league leaders Mumbai City. Hence, the Kolkata-baed side cannot afford to drop points against the Yellow Army if they want to remain in the hunt for the AFC Champions League (ACL) spot.

ATK Mohun Bagan's last outing against the Highlanders was marred by controversial refereeing decisions. Luis Machado had scored the opening goal of the match but while doing so, he was guilty of shoving down defender Tiri.

Coach Antonio Habas was understandably frustrated with the refereeing and highlighted a few incidents from their last game against NorthEast United. He pointed that striker Roy Krishna should have been awarded a penalty after he was fouled inside the box. The former Bolivia national team coach was perplexed with some of the decision-making by the match officials. 

"The referee situation, I don't understand," said Habas. "Maybe we don't have any luck with some referees. In the last match, we conceded the goal even though it was a clear foul. After that one penalty to Roy Krishna was not given and one offside decision (was given). In my opinion, a referee can commit one mistake or two mistakes but cannot commit three mistakes in the same match. We need to support the referees but sometimes I don't understand their decisions. We have to continue. In my career, I have never thought about refereeing before a game and I will continue the same."

ATK Mohun Bagan downed Kerala Blasters the last time these two sides met in the season opener. Habas remained cautious ahead of facing Kibu Vicuna's side as he suggested that the South Indian club have improved a lot as the season has progressed.

"Kerala Blasters are a good opponent. I think they had a possibility to win in the last match (against us) and we needed a lot of effort, discipline and intelligence to win that tie. They have improved a lot. But we have to think about our game and not think about them."

Goal-scoring has been a major issue for Habas' men this season. The Kolkata giants have managed to score only 13 goals in as many matches. But the Spanish coach mentioned that he has seen improvement in his team's performance of late.

"We have shown improvement in our performance in the last few matches and we have to continue improving. After the first phase of the league, the team has consolidated the system, the idea. Now we have to improve and increase our attacking performance," said the ATK Mohun Bagan coach.