Steve Coppell unhappy with losing Kalu Uche, Pradyum Reddy eyes a win
Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar
Both the sides are looking to get back to winning ways.
With both teams in dire need of a win right now, ATK and FC Pune City both have a lot to play for during their match in the weekend. After falling to a disappointing loss to Bengaluru FC which destroyed their momentum, ATK will look to get back to winning ways and restart a charge towards a top-four spot.
FC Pune City, on the other hand, have been having problems after the other and fell to another disappointing home loss to Chennaiyin FC. The Stallions need a win to save them from falling further down the pack, while ATK needs a special performance to win over their ditched fans.
Here’s what coaches Steve Coppell and Pradyum Reddy spoke about before the match.
Steve Coppell (ATK)
Steve Coppell was immediately questioned about Kalu Uche's status for the match. When asked about his situation, he said. “Kalu has gone back to Barcelona. He had an extensive tear in his quadriceps muscles. It was a grade three, which is quite bad. He’s gone back to Barcelona to seek further medical treatment. He leaves a hole in our squad.”
“We’ve requested a short-term replacement for him and ISL have allowed us that. But trying to find someone for a short period of time, is extremely difficult. We expect him to be fit come January. Till then, we ‘re looking for somebody to fill in for the five games up until then.” he further revealed.
ATK have conceded many goals through set-pieces this season. When asked about what he’s done to rectify those problems, he said, “It’s a pain for us. We’ve worked very hard at stopping set pieces. We’ve conceded too many goals from set pieces."
"I would say not to concede the set-pieces and work hard not to give away silly focus. When you do concede a foul, you need to be alive for situations and the defenders have to accept more responsibility," the Englishman added.
Coppell was asked about a sense of negativity is causing problems for ATK after going down on so many occasions. He replied, “I don’t think things went haywire. We went 1-0 up and we lost Kalu. He’s been important when he’s played because he’s the focus."
"He’s the target for us. Losing him it took away our output. Losing the goal just before Halftime is a blow psychologically," the ATK tactician further said.
He was also asked about now that Kalu is out, how he plans on changing up the forward line. Coppell answered, “We’ve got options up front with Balwant and Everton. We have things we can do to try and compensate. But replacing Kalu is big shoes to fill."
"He’s a very physical player. We do have options and during the course of the games, we can make changes to keep the opposition on their toes. We might move personnel around to try and mix things up.”
Finally, he was asked whether he feels this is a good time to play a vulnerable FC Pune City side. He explained, “It’s difficult to answer that. Marcelinho and Diego are very dangerous players and aren’t available. We play the 11 shirts who are in front of us and well do our best to win that game."
Pradyum Reddy (FC Pune City)
The Stallions manager addressed the media prior to a key match for his side. When asked about the managerial position at FC Pune City, he said, “There’s no update at the moment. I’m obviously here for the next game. There’ll be a decision during the break for what's going to happen after.”
“It’s been a poor start for us. It's like a continuity from last season, where we were winless in the last six games. Some of the problems didn't get rectified in the pre-season. We need to rectify those things.” he added.
When asked about their vulnerabilities in defense causing problems for him, he said, “Definitely it’s a concern. When I came in the first three games, we conceded six goals. There are a lot of issues we need to rectify. One of those is the lack of goals. We’ve scored five in the last three games, but we’ve conceded many goals as well.
Reddy was asked about whether the upcoming International break can help improve their state right now and said, “Absolutely I think the break is something we're looking forward too."
"We need time to rectify some of our issues, especially defending. As a team, we defended well but the individual errors are still there," he added.
“The time the breaks gives us will allow us to work on these teams. But, at the same time, we lose players for these breaks. The likes of Sarthak, Vishal, Nikhil, and Ashique will be joining the India camp.” he added.
When asked about whether he feels FC Pune’s great record against ATK will play towards their favor, he explained, “I got asked the similar question against Chennaiyin. I think the ISL history doesn’t play as big a part as people think."
“Last season, we came here and won dominantly. We’re hoping for something similar this season and we can use that to kickstart our season,” he added.
Finally, he was quizzed on the lack of key creative players could make his team go with a defensive approach. He answered, “It’s a dilemma we have to think about. In a normal situation, we’ll go for one point. But given the situation, we need to look for all three points."
Kalu Uche will the only absentee for ATK heading into the game against the Stallions.
FC Pune City
FC Pune City are missing some key players for the game. Diego Carlos and Marcelinho are still serving the suspension for their game. Marko Stankovic is also injured.
FC Pune City
Did You Know?
ATK have scored three goals on the counter-attack this season. Only Jamshedpur FC (four goals) have been able to score more than the Kolkata side in this campaign.
FC Pune City have conceded seven goals from three away matches this season. No other team has conceded more than the Stallions on the road so far.
Along with Mumbai City FC, both the teams have scored the least amount of goals (six) so far in this campaign.
The match will take place on Saturday at 7:30 PM at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. On television, the match will be live on Star Sports Network. Meanwhile, it will also be streamed on Hotstar and Jio TV.