The Englishman was delighted after his team’s first win of the season…
Kerala Blasters FC brought an end to Mumbai City FC’s unbeaten start to the 2016 Hero Indian Super League with their first win of the season in front of more than 40,000 fans at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Friday. Michael Chopra scored the only goal of the game in the 58th minute, and head coach Steve Coppell couldn’t hide his joy speaking to the media at the post-match press conference.
“There was a lot more zest today, the way our team played today. The players were driven to prove a point today. They took the game to the opposition. It was because of that extra drive that we created more opportunities. You can’t guarantee scoring goals but if you keep creating opportunities over a period of time you will get your return,” said the Englishman.
He continued: “It would be easier for the players to get discouraged in the second half, but the players just kept on going. The energy in the team was most impressive for me. They wanted to make the fans happy. I hope the fans noticed that the players are very committed to the cause.”
The Blasters put in a solid performance at the back, which saw them limit Mumbai’s numerous attacking outlets to just three attempts on goal, and Coppell admitted that a solid defensive foundation is the building block for any successful team. “After the last game I thought Cedric [Hengbart] would have struggled but he is a warrior, he wants to play every game. He works very hard to be fit. Aaron Hughes flew 15-20 hours from Germany and he came in and told me I want to play. A solid defensive unit is very important as it gives us a strong base going forward. Everyone played an important role today. If you are going to be a successful team you need everyone in the team to do their part.” he said.
The 61-year-old also insisted on taking one game at a time. “I don’t believe in setting up targets. Game by game I try to plan and win the game. The goal that Atlético de Kolkata scored against us was a deflected shot. It seemed a little cruel to us. But the points would obviously make a difference. That’s how it is. Every game is going to come thick and fast now, so we have to collect as many points as possible. Once we come into rhythm we will keep winning,” he said.
Chopra, who proved to be the difference by scoring the winner, also accompanied Coppell to the press conference. The Kerala Blasters talisman failed to hide his emotions when pressed on how it felt to get off the mark in the Hero Indian Super League. “I’ve been waiting two years to score this goal. It’s a great feeling. I am emotional right now. People remember the save by the goalkeeper in the final of Hero ISL 2014, the last match the goalkeeper pulled off another good save. Then again in the first half another good save made me wonder when I would score my first goal. When I finally scored in the second half it was just a great feeling to score a goal in India,” said Chopra.
Report and Photo Courtesy: ISL Media