Criticism, Slogans & Pressure from fans are a day to day affair for Juan Ferrando, but keeping aside that, what is a day to day for him is the hard work which he continuously does to outclass the opponents on any given day. A Star-Studded team with no tactics will produce no results, the head coach along with his ability to see the near future  and the possible tactics of the opponents make a team to win matches. Despite regular questioning from media houses, and pressure from the fans, he kept his belief on his tactics and players available to him and that ultimately brought the sought after results. Hailing from Barcelona School of Football, he firmly believes in Possession based attacking football that soothes the eyes while also giving entertainment to the fans as well as the results to boot for.  Today's chapter continues with the story of a man who overcame eye infection problem that almost took his sight-ability to one of the most tactically sound coach to set foot on the Indian soil, Mr. JUAN FERRANDO FENOLL.

Hailing from Barcelona, Juan Ferrando auditioned for MOHUN BAGAN in outrageous possession attacking football style with FC Goa. “The Special  Juan” joined MOHUN BAGAN in the middle of the 2021-22 season replacing Antonio Lopez Habas. That  season he transformed a team that played absolute resolute counter-attacking football to a team  that went on to control every tactical aspect of  the game, and this was no mean feat given the depth of the squad he had, he had kept MOHUN BAGAN in the hunt for the ISL Shield till the last matchday of the season and almost  get hands on the ISL trophy before being knocked out of the semi-final by the eventual champions Hyderabad FC. That season he also coached the team in the AFC Cup 2022 qualifying round and the group stages , where he and his on point tactics made MOHUN BAGAN qualify for the inter-zonal semi-final round after losing the opening match 4-2 to Gokulam Kerala. In the next matches 4-0 win against Bangladeshi champions Bashundhara Kings and 5-2 win against Maldivian Champions Maziya S &RC ensured smooth progress to the next round. His playstyle and aggressive tactics that bore results was eventually being referred as the “JUANBALL” . The word eventually becomes familiar with him and one hardly had even thought of the results and impacts , “JUANBALL” and it's mastermind “JUAN FERRANDO” was about to have on Indian Football.

With huge responsibility and pressure on him for success, before 2022-23 season, he was given total freedom and support in terms of player recruitments, where he created the most buzz of the summer transfer window by letting go 2 deadly strikers Roy Krishna and David Williams, who were known as match winners for MOHUN BAGAN. He was set to try the most controversial strategy ever in Indian Football, the “false Number 9” tactics, he was set for an team with no proper out and out foreign striker, a formation similar to which FC Barcelona played under Pep Guardiola . With aim to win Asian and Indian titles, Juan roped in Dimitrios Petratos, a player who can play all along the forward line, who later went on to be the best player of the 2022-23 season across all Indian leagues. The formation he was trying implements a line-up with 4 defenders, 2 solid midfield pivots and 4 forwards , where the number 9 ( Dimitrios Petratos ) drops deep to link up with the number 10 (Hugo Boumous/ Federico Gallego) and with the midfield pivots ( Joni Kauko / Tangri / Mchugh /Glan / Hnamte / Lenny ). The wingers ( Manvir / Liston /Ashique / Kiyan ) are tasked to overload the flanks with the fullbacks (Ashish, Subhasish) supporting them. Whenever the no. 9 drops deep the wingers would make diagonal runs into the box creating numerical supremacy as well as goal scoring chances . Looking at the superb scoring form of Liston and Manvir and other Indian forwards in the previous season , Juan relied on them to again deliver the goods which they massively failed to do. Liston recorded 4 goals and 4 assists the entire season while Manvir recorded 4 goals and 5 assists the entire season, while other Indian forwards recorded combined 0 goals and assists the entire season. Still, in this Goal-drought season, his tactics to tighten the defense and grind result out of nothing shows his tactical awareness. The goal scoring drought costed Bagan heavily as they bow out of the AFC cup inter-zonal semi-final stage after losing against Malaysian side Kuala Lumpur City FC and an early exit from Durand  cup of 2022. 

In the ISL, after round robin league Ferrando managed Mohun Bagan to a respectable third place finish though finishing 12 points below shield winners Mumbai City FC. After entering the playoff stages , Juan brought out his ‘A’ game to the table to win the   ISL cup after beating Bengaluru FC 4-3  in the  penalties. The silverware was his first Indian title, and also the first ISL trophy for MOHUN BAGAN. With already a trophy in the bag, expectations  were huge on Juan to deliver. He couldn't replicate the feat in the Super Cup as Bagan bow out in the group stages but later managed to win the spot for the AFC CUP, 2023 qualifying round by winning the Indian clubs playoff. Many would say scoring 28 goals in 24 matches is a very mean feat for a team of Mohun Bagan's calibre and especially when the coach is Juan Ferrando who relies upon attacking football to outplay the opponents. But with key players getting injured in the most important part of the season , it was difficult for him to find exact replacements and had to try different conditions in the middle of the season. But the glimpses of the brand of football he was trying to implement was seen in the away matches that Bagan won 5-2 against KBFC in Kochi and drew 2-2 against MCFC in Mumbai. Had not the players been injured and inconsistent , Juan and his Mohun Bagan team would have presented the best brand of football ever seen in Indian Football. Although, it was not a great season for him with only one trophy to boot for , he was offered a years contract extension that would see him coach the Bagan side till the end of 2023/24 season. 

The Special Juan has already started the 2023/24 season on a high note by clinching the 132nd Durand Cup by beating Emami East Bengal FC in the final and making Bagan qualify for the AFC Cup Main Stages,2023. With almost all the players he wanted is under his ranks now , it's now up to him how he conquers the Asian and the Indian titles. With Only 8 games under him this season , 4 formations have already been tried and every single one had became successful. Winning the Durand Cup has already sky rocketed the fan's expectations and with Ultras of Mohun Bagan returning to the stand can create a pressure on him as well as the players, which he had to calmly handle to deliver the best possible result. With Asian Championship in mind, he needs to approach every game with calm and composure. This term with AFC Cup and ISL running simultaneously , he might be forced to try different formations and combinations every 3 or 4 games to keep the players fit and injury free through out the long season. Armando Sadiku , Jason Cummings , Dimitrios Petratos for scoring goals. Hugo Boumous , Sahal, Anirudh to control the midfield. Hector Yuste, Anwar , Hamill, Subhasish , Ashish to resist attacks and Vishal Kaith to guard the fort. With so many star players he had to have a strong grip over the dressing room to avoid any conflict of egos . Juan for sure has the ability to make this team unstoppable on it`s way to success. With first ISL Shield and last ever AFC Cup title in sight, it's going to be a very difficult season with everyone seeing Mohun Bagan as the opponent to beat, "The Special Juan" can surely deliver a special season to all of the fans , we wish Juan and his Mohun Bagan side all the best for the upcoming season.

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