The Islanders need a win to qualify for the knockout phase.
ATK are clinging onto the tiniest of lifelines in the ISL playoffs race, which could become bigger or self-destruct depending on their result against Mumbai City FC. Both teams come into the game in poor form, having been unable to win their last few matches.
While Steve Coppell is desperate for a win, Jorge Costa knows his side can qualify for the playoffs with a win themselves. It’ll be a heated encounter with a lot of stakes in it and have a big impact on the future of the playoffs race. Here’s what the manager’s had to say prior to the game:
Steve Coppell (ATK)
With ATK still in a precarious position, Coppell was asked about what’s to be gained from the game tomorrow. He explained, “It’s very difficult to qualify, but it is possible. We obviously cling onto that hope. Just like any other game, we’d like to win the game. If we were to win it, we would be within reach of Mumbai.”
ATK have only scored 15 goals from 16 games. When asked for reasons regarding this, he said, “If you think from start of the season, Mr. Goenka compiled a squad very much with Kalu Uche in mind. He scored many goals last year. For injury reasons, he hasn’t played many games He’s a focal point for our attacking game.”
He further said, “without him, we tried to sign Alfaro who injured himself.The lack of a quality striker has made the difference. Also, we haven’t created as much as we wanted to do. We’re lacking in that department.”
Finally, when asked about whether he’s looking forward to the Super Cup and will make changes for that, he said, “I don’t think we’ll make any changes. However, it depends on how the next 10 days pan out.”
Jorge Costa (Mumbai City FC)
Jorge Costa was questioned on whether ATK’s poor form can work to their advantage into winning tomorrow. He said, “I’ll be honest and say that we’re in a better position than ATK. It depends on the things that we can do and we’re not depending on other things. Knowing that ATK can also reach the top four, I’m not expecting an easy game tomorrow and it’ll be difficult against a very good team with very good players.”
“They have stellar foreign players and an experienced coach and it’ll be difficult for us. What we don’t want is to leave it all for the last game. We’ll try to fix all the things for tomorrow.” he added.
When asked about whether the injuries are the reason for their drop in performance and level, and whether the ATK game is crucial towards regaining their momentum, he explained, “The last three games we didn’t play like we usually do. We had injuries and suspensions, which plagued our form and we made a lot of mistakes.
“I’m very confident that tomorrow we can be the same Mumbai City that we were in the first half of the season,” he added.
ATK still have Pronoy Halder and Manuel Lanzarote doubtful for the game, as they’re yet to fully recover from their injuries.
Mumbai City FC
The Islanders have a few players doubtful for the game, including defenders Subhashish Bose and Joyner Laurenco.
Mumbai City FC
Did You Know?
- ATK have scored the least number of goals among any teams in this ISL, only netting 15 times from 16 games.
- If they win, Mumbai City FC can qualify for the ISL playoffs for only the second time in their history.
- The Islanders have an impressive record at the Salt Lake Stadium, having won two out of three games played against ATK in the historic stadium.
The match will take place on Friday at 7:30 at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. On television, the match will be shown in Star Sports Network. Meanwhile, it will also be streamed on Hotstar and JioTV.