The home side are without a clean-sheet against the West Bengal outfit since October 2015.
Hosts Delhi Dynamos will kick-off the upcoming ISL Gameweek with a fiery encounter against ATK. The capital club started off this season with a thrilling draw against Pune. Although, the match ended in a stalemate, they missed several chances to go two ahead after Rana Gharami’s screamer towards the end of the first half. The Lions will be looking for all three points in this encounter. Meanwhile, ATK come into this fixture with two consecutive losses, with a serious lack of creativity in midfield and very few chances made.
Currently, the Lions are in sixth place in the table after a match, while the Kolkata outfit are bottom.
Josep Gombau (Delhi Dynamos)
The Spaniard knows that his side need to be more accurate in finishing
The press conference started off with Josep Gombau being questioned about the gap between his side’s first fixture and the second and how they would carry on the tempo. He said, “After the Pune game, we had two weeks of preparation. We still had some players missing that time as they had gone to play with the Indian national team. Now, we have everybody and we are ready to play tomorrow. The team has shaped up good. We are ready, and hopefully, we can win.”
When asked if the capital’s poor air quality could affect his players’ performance, the former Barcelona youth team gaffer said, “Yes, it is difficult to come to a solution. It is obviously difficult. Yes, we are facing issues, but we can’t do much about this.”
In Delhi’s last fixture against Pune, the Lions missed a host of chances in a 1-1 draw. So, when asked how he was training his team to convert those chances into goals he said, “Yes, we had a lot of chances in the last game. We need to improve on that aspect tomorrow. We are working hard to overcome this. We are working on finishing. It is one of the important elements of the game. The good thing is that if you create chances, it is a good sign. It is difficult to create chances in football and we created them. So, it is a good thing. We just need to be more accurate in finishing.”
Chhangte’s pace is a crucial weapon for Delhi Dynamos
Concerning Lallianzuala Chhangte’s growth as a player Gombau quipped, “I think Chhangte is a very young player. He is a player who creates a lot of chances because he is quick. Yes, we are working on him, on trying to improve his finishing. I have seen a lot of positives and he has a good future ahead of him. He will become one of the best wingers in India.”
When asked about his plans to beat ATK tomorrow and how he plans to reduce the impact of opposition midfielder Manuel Lanzarote the Spaniard said, “For me, ATK have a very good squad. It’s not just Lanzarote. They have (Kalu) Uche, (Everton) Santos among others. They are good. I like to look at the opposition as a team and not just individual players. It will be a tough outing tomorrow. I have been watching all the ISL matches. I have observed that all the teams are strong this time. We need to work hard.”
Steve Coppell (ATK)
The Englishman believes his side can overcome their poor start
Regarding his side’s poor start to the season and how they will look to do better tomorrow Steve Coppell said, “First and foremost, I am looking forward to the game after the last defeat. In the last game, we didn’t give ourselves much chance after we had a player sent off after 30 minutes. I have always said it is not a good idea to play football with 10 against 11. This is a chance to get ourselves on the right foot and we are looking forward to it.”
24-year-old right-back Prabir Das is currently out injured. When asked about his availability the former Manchester United player said, “He is not available. He has a quite serious knee injury. I think at some stage in this week, he will be having a surgery.”
When asked about Delhi’s poor air quality the Englishman replied, “To be honest, the first time I learned about the pollution was from the internet this morning. Nobody from the league told us about this. We are not prepared to wear masks. We have just come to play the game and we hope that the air quality improves by the time we play the game.”
Coppell knows that striker Uche could play a big role this season
A lot of new players have joined ATK this season, which could be a possible reason behind the club’s slow start, as a team takes time to integrate new elements. “This kind of a start wasn’t expected. We wanted to win from the start. I know I have got some good players. It is just a question of everything gelling together. The solution to these problems is just hard-work and commitment. My players have displayed these aspects. I believe in them,” the head coach stated.
Last season, ATK striker Kalu Uche was in Delhi Dynamos, where he finished as club top scorer. His transfer to the Bengal outfit could play a role in tomorrow’s fixture. Regarding this, the former England international said, “Yeah, he is obviously good. We had issues on his arrival, as he arrived very late, just before the first game. We have worked hard with Kalu, integrating him into the squad. Going forward, given his goal count, he is obviously going to be a big factor.”
Regarding tomorrow’s match Coppell said, “We are prepared for it. We know that they created a lot of chances in their last outing. Inevitably, every football game is about execution. We have to execute our gameplan and implement it.”
When asked about youngster Komal Thatal he quipped, “Yes, he showed a lot of promise in the pre-season with us. He hasn’t figured so far in this season, but his skill and pace could be a factor as the season progresses.”
Bikramjit Singh is currently suffering from a hamstring injury, while Daniel Lalhlimpuia is back in training. All the Indian internationals who travelled to China for the recent friendly are fit and ready to play. Vinit Rai will most probably play in Bikramjit’s position.
Prabir Das is out injured with a knee injury. He is expected to have surgery this week.
Did You Know?
- Currently, Delhi are on a six-match unbeaten run at home. In those six matches, they have scored 15 goals and conceded eight.
- This is the first time in five seasons that ATK haven’t scored a goal in their first two matches, which is also their worst start to a campaign in terms of scoring.
- Delhi are without a clean-sheet against ATK since October 2015.
The match will take place tomorrow at 7:30 PM at the JLN Stadium. On television, the match will be live on Star Sports. Meanwhile, it will also be streamed on Hotstar and Jio TV.