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ISL 2018/19: "He leaves a hole in our squad," says ATK coach Steve Coppell on Kalu Uche's injury

690   //    09 Nov 2018, 20:22 IST

Kalu Uche scored only one goal for ATK this season
Kalu Uche scored only one goal for ATK this season

ATK will try to bounce back once again in the ongoing ISL when they face FC Pune City at the Salt Lake Stadium this weekend after a disappointing loss to Bengaluru FC in the last match. FC Pune City is loitering around at the bottom of the points table without a win.

While the visitors have nothing to lose, a win for ATK will put them right back in the hunt for the championship. ATK’s coach Steve Coppell feels that they have suffered a lot during set-piece movements and the players need to be responsible in such situations.

During the pre-match press conference, the Englishman said,

“It’s (set-pieces) a pain for us. We’ve worked very hard at stopping set pieces. We’ve conceded too many goals from set pieces. I would say not to concede the set-pieces and work hard not to give away silly focus. When you do concede a foul, you need to be alive for situations and the defenders have to accept more responsibility."

Meanwhile, their start striker Kalu Uche has fled back to Barcelona after suffering an injury and is unlikely to play before January. His absence will be a big loss to the ATK squad.

“Kalu has gone back to Barcelona. He had an extensive tear in his quadriceps muscles. It was a grade three, which is quite bad. He’s gone back to Barcelona to seek further medical treatment. He leaves a hole in our squad,” said the coach.

The tactician also informed that they have requested ISL for a short time replacement and it has been allowed as well, but according to Steve it is very difficult to find a player for such a short period until Kalu Uche recovers early in 2019.

Although Marcelinho and Diego Carlos will miss the tie on Saturday owing to suspension, Steve feels that they still need to work hard for the three points. He said, “It’s difficult to answer that. Marcelinho and Diego are very dangerous players and aren’t available."

“We play the 11 shirts who are in front of us and well do our best to win that game. We know for a fact that if we are to win the game, we have to earn the victory. Nobody is going to gift us points and five victories for us. We have to win the game. Simple as that,” he added.

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