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ISL Media

Coppell takes pride in clean sheets, Sheringham slams poor pitch

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Both managers accepted that the venue is a work in progress.

Jamshedpur FC’s search for their first win in the Indian Super League (ISL) continued after a goalless draw against ATK at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur on Friday. It was their third consecutive 0-0 draw this season and head coach Steve Coppell explained that the ground conditions made it difficult for his side to play with confidence.

“It’s difficult you know, because of the surface. I thought we had a strong claim for a penalty in the first minute and from there, you have to create chances. It was difficult to run with the ball, it was difficult to pass the ball with confidence. That surely affected the game. In a way, you can admire both the teams for their commitment in the way they went about their job. I hope the next time we play here, we have a far firmer surface than the one we had today,” he told reporters at the post-match press conference.

The Englishman backed his ground staff and acknowledged that Jamshedpur as a club are still a work in progress. “The pitch is beautiful. So many people within Jamshedpur have worked so hard for months to create a pitch and to create a stadium to hold an ISL game. And obviously, the pitch doesn’t live up to the billing, it’s a work in progress like so many things in the team, in Jamshedpur, the environment, it’s a work in progress,” Coppell said.

When asked if a third consecutive 0-0 draw will affect his side’s preparations, Coppell replied: “I don’t think it (the result) affects our training in any way. It’s not like we do defensive drills all the time. Three clean sheets is something to be proud of. We defend from the front and hopefully when we go forward we attack from the back. Almost every day we do a combination of defensive and attacking drills. It won’t really change our training a great deal. We have challenges as a new team, so we have to adapt a little.”

The 62-year-old also insisted that injuries hampered Jamshedpur’s attack. “Having to play (Andre) Bikey at the back in place of (the injured) Anas Edathodika, left us short up front. I thought Sameehg Doutie had a very good game. It was difficult to carve out chances, but we had some good shooting opportunities. When I started tinkering with the team, we were losing our threat a little bit.”

Commenting on his decision to not use striker Ashim Biswas, Coppell added: “He’s not played because he’s a striker. If you see my team, we have a lot of strikers. We have seven international players, it is a difficult position for him to break into. We tried to get him desperately on the pitch today, but I just felt we needed the power of a Trindade (Goncalves) and to be honest it didn’t really work. Maybe I should have put Ashim on.”


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"We are lucky that we haven’t got more than one injury- Sheringham

Defending Indian Super League (ISL) champions ATK were held to a goalless draw by Jamshedpur FC at the JRD TATA Sports Complex in Jamshedpur on Friday. The players from both teams found it hard to play on a difficult pitch and chances were few and far between. Speaking to the media at the post-match press conference was ATK head coach Teddy Sherringham.

He began by agreeing that it was tough on the night, but lauded the players for their commitment. “It was a really tough hard-fought draw,” Sheringham admitted. “The pitch didn’t help the game for either team tonight. It was a tough spectacle and is not one of the games you put in the archive. But when you look at the players, you see their commitment, 22 players working hard on a pitch like that. You have to commend all 22 really.”

He was particularly critical about the poor conditions of the pitch, pointing out that his team was lucky not to have multiple injuries to deal with. “Five minutes into the match, I turned around and said that this could be really bad,” the Englishman revealed. “You could get bad injuries on that (pitch). You saw our goalkeeper coming out in the last two minutes to the edge of the box and his legs kind of buckled underneath him. We are lucky that we haven’t got more than one injury.”

The one injury Sheringham was referring to was that of midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh, who picked up a knock in the closing stages of the first half. “Eugeneson got a whack on the inside of his knee,” he explained. “There’s no ligament damage with it. It was a heavy blow, but when you know it’s just a blow on the inside, we should be okay with that one.”

As far as positives from the game went, Sheringham praised his attackers for playing as per plan, citing Hitesh Sharma’s goal that was correctly ruled offside as an example. “I was pleased from a goalscoring point of view that Zequinha hit the target, made the ‘keeper work and Hitesh (Sharma) and Robin (Singh) was there for the rebounds, we worked on that a lot. I liked the fact that strikers are getting in there and trying to score from rebounds,” he said.

Published: Sat Dec 02, 2017 05:25 PM IST

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