The two tacticians had polar opposite takes on Friday night’s game.
ATK were handed a drubbing as Mumbai City defeated them 1-3 at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata on Friday. A Modou Sougou hat-trick was enough for the Islanders to get back to winning ways and clinch their place in the playoffs, ending ATK’s slim hopes for the same.
Steve Coppell seemed dejected after another crushing loss. When questioned about his thoughts on the game he said, “Very disappointed with the result. It was a difficult week for us to prepare for the game because we had some injury situations.”
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“We were short of a foreigner this evening. Edu (Garcia) was unable to train throughout the week. He battled through to the end despite a groin strain,” he added.
“Everyone knew about Mumbai’s pace and power through the wings and Sougou’s finishing. We didn’t handle them very well. We created our own mountain to climb. We had a goal back and created more opportunities afterwards. If we had more converted, it might’ve been an interesting last 5-10 minutes. We never got our team into it, as such,” Coppell went on to say.
When talking about whether he can take any positives from the game he said, “It’s not the time to talk about positives. I think we’ve had some good players who are committed to ATK for longer and I would hope they’ll use this season’s experience to push on for next season.”
“It’s going to get more difficult because of possibility of more teams getting involved. The league will get more demanding, so you need more good players who are resilient and have ability to win games. We haven’t been consistent enough this season and I didn’t feel our balance of the squad was there,” Coppell quipped.
There were chants of “Coppell Go Back” after the game. When asked about his thoughts on that he explained, “The manager is always responsible for the team’s result. I fully understand the fans reaction and if that’s what people think, I can’t do much.”
“I know I’ll sleep very well because I did my best for the team. I wouldn’t have changed anything for the team. We didn’t do as well as we were capable of doing more. Who knows whether or not I’ll be here next season. It’s not my decision. We still have games left this season,” the Englishman added.
Coppell was also questioned on whether he’ll make changes and play a new system against Delhi Dynamos in his side’s last game. He said, “No, I don’t think so because it wouldn’t be fair to throw a young boy into that kind of environment. We wet his appetite today and we have one player with chicken pox right now in the squad.”
“Hitesh (Sharma) was not involved because of that. Ashish (Jha) came in for him. As I said in the Matchday 1, ISL need to have a progression system from the academy to the reserve team to the main team. I hope they have a route to getting into the first team,” he finished.
Jorge Costa seemed a happy man after the game. When asked whether his tactics worked perfectly against ATK he said, “The players worked perfectly for me. Sometimes, I understand that people don’t like the way we play, but most important is to get results in football. It was a difficult game for us after three defeats and having these two tough games, so it was good way to take off the pressure.”
“But you know, I think we deserve it. From the beginning, we are saying we want to finish in top four. We want a lot during every game, so today we can say we’ve finished in top four. I’m very happy and proud with my team,” he added.
When asked about how his contract extension negotiations are going and whether he’ll stay at Mumbai City next season he remained coy and said, “I’ve been happy here from the first game. The people doing their best to keep me happy. I hope they are also happy with me.”
“My job isn’t finished yet, so we have more time to speak about that. The most important thing is that I’m happy in India and in Mumbai and I’m very happy that the people from Mumbai are doing their best to keep me happy.” he further added.
Costa was also questioned on whether his side has struck the right rhythm at the correct time heading into the playoffs. He explained, “I always want more from the team. Today is the day to celebrate and not the day to think about anything else.”
We still have some days to rest. I don’t know if we’ll finish first, second, third or fourth. We go into the (Maharashtra) (derby) with the best we can and we’ll fight for the three points. After that I’ll look into where we’ve finished and head into the playoffs after that,” Costa concluded.