Outlining a possible routemap for ATK in the Steve Coppell era
Written by: Atrayo Bhattacharya
The former Jamshedpur FC and Kerala Blasters gaffer is regarded widely for his defensive capabilities.
The Indian football scene is totally getting heated up as the sides are on the move to prepare themselves for the upcoming season. Two times Indian Super League (ISL) champions, ATK had a torrid time last season, starting from sacking managers to the underperforming players, they had it all. But the outfit from Kolkata grabbed the headlines a few weeks ago when they snapped up Steve Coppell as their new manager.
Known for his illustrious career at Manchester United, the former winger also has loads of experience standing on the sidelines managing teams like Manchester City, Crystal Palace, Bristol City, Brighton and Brentford. He is also no stranger to Indian football as he has already managed Kerala Blasters and Jamshedpur FC.
"It's the ultimate management challenge!"@WorldATK's new head coach Steve Coppell spoke to us exclusively about recruiting the right players, title ambitions and more.#LetsFootball #HeroISL @khuri8 pic.twitter.com/JLBuYbOhiU— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) June 30, 2018
With the appointment of Steve Coppell, one thing is clear that the tactician will play extra focus on the team's defence and that has been an area of concern for ATK last season. Coppell is known for his defensive organisation and tactical astuteness in a team. His teams are generally very stingy at the back, as they give no space whatsoever conceding very few goals. His time at Jamshedpur FC is a clear example of how much importance he gives to organise his backline. The Men of Steel conceded only 18 goals in the league phase, a record only beaten by the then league leaders Bengaluru FC.
The 62-year old's appointment can really be a headstart for ATK, considering the fact that he will be well supported by Sanjoy Sen who is a known face in the City of Joy and former Mohun Bagan head coach.
Sanjoy Sen, who has basically set this team up will some very renowned players from the Indian contingent is a great tactician and being a local, he knows the local players better than anyone. Sen is a highly respectable and influential figure in Indian football, having won the I-League and Federation Cup with Mohun Bagan, the head of youth development can be a great advisor and assistant to the Englishman.
Speaking of the team, with the signing of John Johnson from Bengaluru FC, the backline now has found an able leader. Players like Manuel Lanzarote and Kalu Uche has joined the club in search of greener pastures, which will also help ATK find their goals in the next season. Indian stars like Pronay Halder, Cavin Lobo, Balwant Singh and Arnab Mondal poses a lot of valuable experience in the team. Pranoy Halder could be Coppell's go-to man, as he always prefers a defensive midfielder who can help his backline, he had an admiration for Mehtab Hossain back in his Kerala days. With Halder's abilities to control the midfield and shield the backline, the 25-year old will be the ideal man for the role.
At Jamshedpur FC, his team had a resolute defence and were hard to break but they lacked an out and out goalscorer and hence a lot of matches ended in stalemates. But with the creative mind of Manuel Lanzarote and Cavin Lobo and with goalscorers of Kalu Uche and Balwant Singh's prowess, the problem seems to have been solved for ATK.
To their advantage, the team will have with Sanjoy Sen is that the former Mohun Bagan gaffer knows a lot about the regional players and has already snapped up impressive youngsters like Sheikh Faiaz, Ricky Lallawmawma and Ankit Mukherjee. Faiaz and Ricky had a pretty good outing with the Mariners last season whereas Ankit was a vital cog in Bengal's Santosh Trophy team which reached the finals. With Sen at their side, nurturing and development of youngsters at ATK are in safe hands.
So, the new era marks the beginning of a new partnership, as both the tacticians will have only one motive that is to take their team forward in the upcoming season. It will be redemption for the two-times champions as they are just coming off from a horrible season and will have a lot to prove in the forthcoming season.
Published: Mon Jul 02, 2018 02:45 PM IST