The Englishman hopes Manuel Lanzarote will have a bigger impact against the Highlanders than he did against Kerala Blasters.
ATK will try to redeem their opening day loss to Kerala Blasters when they face NorthEast United at the Salt Lake Stadium on Thursday. Steve Coppell is under pressure to deliver his first win after taking the helm of ATK earlier this year and his side’s lacklustre display on Saturday has not helped his cause at all. With it also being their final home game for almost a month, Coppell will look to gain his first victory heading into a couple of difficult away fixtures.
Steve Coppell (ATK)
Coppell was first asked about whether he has pondered about the number of points he aims to get from the remaining home games. He said, “No, I’ve always had the same philosophy throughout my management career. It’s to win the next game. That’s the only thing I think of. I’m just focused on winning the next game and things take shape in itself after that.”
The Englishman also explained the areas he hopes his team improves and said, “The ball retention is the biggest thing. We gave the ball away too easily the other night. Particularly, when the conditions are so hot. When you haven’t got the ball, it seems like more of an effort. Hopefully, that is something that’ll be better against NorthEast. We need the ball more to give us more potential to go forward in attack.”
Coppell also spoke about the strategy of attacking for his team and whether or not he aims to change it for the benefit of captain Manuel Lanzarote. He said, “That’s what we want. I’ve said right from the first time that our objective is to get the ball to our key personnel. In order to effectively get the ball, Lanza had to come deeper and deeper the other night. He has a terrific left foot and is a fabulous talent in Indian football. The higher up the field he gets the ball, the more dangerous he is.”
ATK ended their abysmal campaign on a high last season
The ATK gaffer also gave his opinion on his opponents on Thursday: ”I have great respect for NorthEast and the way Eelco sets up his team. There’s an element of continuity from last year in their game. We know it’s going to be a really tough game. They are a very capable outfit and got some very strong individual players.”
On whether or not ATK will play more attacking football this season he said “The way you play is according to your personal. It isn’t for me to say that we attack, attack attack. The style we play is the reflection of the individuals in the team. We’re together for six weeks. We have some injuries in our team and some players have only played for 8-9 days. We’re still developing as a unit. But, it will take time for us to gel.”
Coppell also gave an update on Eugeneson Lyngdoh’s status, “It’s difficult to say. I think Eugene played a couple of games in Spain. It’s just a confidence thing for him to play ninety minutes regularly. He’s a very intelligent footballer. So, it’s a situation we’re looking at very carefully.”
ATK were defeated by Kerala Blasters on the opening day of ISL 2018-19
Finally, Coppell was asked about whether putting too much emphasis on pre-season could’ve hindered ATK’s progress. He said, “In terms of heat and humidity, it was 34 degrees in Spain. That was the reason we went to the training camp as it duplicates the heat we have here.
“I was very aware of the heat myself against Kerala. But, once they started making changes, I thought we needed to make changes to get fresh legs on. I thought Kalu and Eugene can make an impact with their attacking prowess. With a little bit of hindsight, I probably wouldn’t have made the changes.”
Always respect our opponents
Eelco Schattorie (NorthEast United)
After the inspired draw against FC Goa, Eelco Schattorie was asked whether his team has extra motivation to win against ATk after that result. “First of all, I think it was a good result for us against Goa. Looking at our pre-season, it was pretty difficult. To play the first game against Goa, who has the same coach and players and pull off a 2-2 is actually a great result. You could see we wanted to get that result by our game.”
“Coming to ATK, they lost their first game and will play at home again. We only had two days rest while they had four days of rest. That is obviously a factor as things are very humid here. We need to stay organized and hopefully we’ll pull off a good result,” he added.
The Highlanders spent a lot of their pre-season practicing in Kolkata and have a better understanding of the conditions. When asked about that, he said, “Let me say that I am more adapted to the circumstances for sure. But, in the end, as a coach, you depend on the qualities of the players. You need to make the best out of those qualities. Over the years, I’ve become more patient and it’s an advantage to have played here before. Hopefully, we have enough preparation to survive the difficult game against ATK.”
It has been 9 games since NorthEast United has won their last game
When asked about whether he’s pinpointed any weakness in ATK’s game he said, “Of course I saw ATK’s game. Based on one game, you try to find a certain weakness, but it does not mean the weakness is going to be the same the second game. I picked out a few points on which we could take our advantage, but it’ll be difficult to implement that in tomorrow’s game.”
Can he turn the fortunes for the Highlanders?
On whether or not he’s under extra pressure to perform this season Schattorie answered, “Anywhere you go, owners will always expect to win. It’s no different wherever you go. I can only work from day-to-day and assess what we have. In that case, when owners and coach come together and work together then you have the biggest chance of succeeding.”
For ATK, Prabir Das, Andre Bikey and Arnab Mondal are still sidelined with injuries and will play no part. Kalu Uche and Eugeneson are possibilities to start, but will likely be substitutes. Coppell said about making changes, “There will not be major changes in my team tomorrow. There will be changes, but no major ones.”
Noussair El Maimouni was awarded a yellow card in ATK’s ISL opener against Kerala Blasters.
Keegan Perreira is the only doubt for NorthEast United heading into the game. “We’re still assessing Keegan’s injury. Hopefully, he’ll be fit,” Schattorie said about the left-back.
Pereira and Redeem Tlang were shown yellow cards against FC Goa in their last game which might limit their appearance in the starting XI.
Arindam, Khongjee, Gerson, Johnson, Ralte, El Moumani, Pronoy, Balwant, Lanzarote, Rane, Uche.
Rehenesh, Reagan, Komorski, Grgic, Robert, Leudo, Rowlin, Redeem, Gallego, Kadam, Ogbeche
Did You Know?
NorthEast United have only beaten ATK once at the Salt Lake Stadium. It was in 2015 when Simao Sabrosa’s goal downed the Kolkata outfit.
ATK failed to score a goal at home for the first time in three matches. The last time they were restricted to a goal-less loss was back in February, when Bengaluru FC defeated them 0-2.
Manuel Lanzarote scored against every team in the ISL last season apart from NorthEast United.
The match will take place at 7:30 PM, on 4th October 2018. It will be played at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata. On television, the match will be live on Star Sports 2. It will also be streamed on Hotstar and Jio TV.