The Indian Super League concluded two months ago with ATK being crowned champions for the third time in history. Elsewhere, Mohun Bagan won the I-League after achieving an unassailable lead in the points table despite Coronavirus preventing the completion of the season.
The merged entity ATK-MB will feature in the ISL next season, with coach Antonio Habas at the helm. The Spanish gaffer became the first manager to win two ISL titles with the same club and is now gearing up to make it three.
Top-performing foreign players played a key role in ATK clinching the title. Roy Krishna and David Williams led the line, garnering 22 goals between them. However, a Spanish core in midfield played an equally important role, dominating games and providing the striking duo with goalscoring chances.
Edu Garcia and Javi Hernandez performed when it mattered for ATK and Mandi Sosa displayed great composure in defensive midfield. The trio registered a combined eight goals and nine assists this season.
In defence, John Johnson and Agus Garcia aided the likes of Sumit Rathi and Pritam Kotal, ensuring the absence of any leaks with potentially devastating effects.
It’s common for ISL teams to prioritise Spanish players in the transfer market, with more clubs trying to replicate the Spanish style of play. Habas hinted that he might sign more Spanish players for the upcoming season.
“We have the chance to sign only two more foreign players and obviously because of the knowledge we have of Spanish football, they can be a priority,” he said.
“But what we want fundamentally is to have players who can adapt to our playstyle and are good players.”
While good players definitely benefit a team, it is important that they are also good professionals, according to the Spanish gaffer. He admitted to this being another criterion for arrivals at ATK. Habas is somebody who wants players who are disciplined on and off the field.
“Within our style, it is a priority to have players who at the same time must be good professionals.
“I don't want good players and bad professionals, a footballer is a whole, and that's the profile ATK-MB is looking for,” Habas concluded.