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ISL 2018-19: ATK will play offensive football, take advantage of the home match, says coach Steve Coppell

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Everton Santos (left) with coach Steve Coppell during the pre-match press conference
sounak mullick

A new look ATK side is all set to host the first match of the Indian Super League 20018-19 seasons, it was clear from coach Steve Coppell that his boys are going to display an attacking brand of football from the beginning. Meanwhile, the Kolkata based side will miss the likes of Andre Bikey and Arnab Mondal due to injury.

Steve Coppell feels that the shape of a team can be judged only after they step on to the field against Kerala Blasters FC. “Everybody feels the same at this stage. The day before the season starts, you hope you’re ready. But until you play you don’t know if you’re ready. We’re looking forward to the game. I think it’ll be a great atmosphere and I hope everyone will enjoy the game. After that, we’ll start judging ourselves as a team,” said Steve Coppell during the pre-match press conference.

On being asked about their approach in the opening match Steve said that he is going to adopt an offensive strategy since they are the home side. He said, “We hope to be as strong as possible. It is our responsibility as a home team to take the game to the opposition. We would like to attack as much as possible.”

The English coach feels that the past record between the two teams will not affect the match on Saturday evening. “I don’t think the past will have any influence on the result tomorrow. It’s a brand new season. Both sides are very optimistic. I think all the teams at the moment want to start brightly,” said the coach.

Eugeneson Lyngdoh missed a major part of the ISL last year, but hopefully, he will be back in action this year although he is still not confirmed for the match against Kerala Blasters FC. “Eugene had an unfortunate injury last year in the JFC game. An ACL reconstruction is a significant surgery for a footballer. He’s come back very well and is fine physically. But mentally, there is a little bit of doubt in his mind. He’s trained well and played games in Spain when we played. He’s very close to being involved from the start of the season.”

After a disappointing display in the previous season, the Sanjeev Goenka owned side will be eager to start this year with a win. The home support will help them a lot but the onus is on the players to rise up to the occasion.


Edited by Sundaresh Kumar

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