ISL 2018/19: "I think the players realised the importance of three points," says ATK coach Steve Coppell after the win over FC Pune City
ATK edged past FC Pune City by a solitary goal to grab three points from their tie against FC Pune City at the iconic Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday evening in the Hero Indian Super League.
Gerson Vieira’s header in the 82nd minute was enough for the hosts to overcome a Pune side which missed two of its most influential players owing to suspension issues.
With the win, the hosts moved to the sixth position on the points table with 10 points from seven matches.
ATK’s coach Steve Coppell was so relieved after the win that during the post-match press conference he said that the three points were more important than the performance in the match.
“The players have put themselves under pressure to win the game. I think they realized the significance of three points. That was the importance of tonight’s game,” said Coppell following their win against FC Pune City.
“It wasn’t about the performance, but about the three points. Every player is under pressure to perform as we didn’t many this term. But today’s win was important. We now have a break and will prepare for the upcoming games after the break to put ourselves in a promising position at Christmas.”
After a few missed chances in the first half as well as most of the second period, ATK took their attack to a different level in the last quarter of the match.
During the 75th minute, the hosts got back to back chances to score the winner but they failed to convert against a lacklustre FC Pune City.
Jayesh Rane has not had the best of an ISL season, but his introduction in the latter stages of the match was the turning point.
In the 82nd minute, Jayesh Rane produced an inch-perfect cross which was connected by Gerson Vieira to score the only goal of the match. The win keeps ATK’s title hopes alive.
Coppell also lauded the efforts of Manuel Lanzarote, who played a vital role in the midfield. He said,
“I think that was his best performance for us. In possession, he is terrific. On the switch off, he knows something happens. I think today, he put on a different quality to his game. He was involved in a lot of things and got some set-piece opportunities. He hit the post and invest themselves in the game and gave a great showing.”
Meanwhile, FC Pune City’s manager Pradyum Reddy was trying to find out the positives from the game even though they are in a very tough position right now.
“We’re in a tough position now because of the loss. But you need to look at the positives. Most Indian teams play with six Indian Players. We’ve played with six U-23 boys out there today. Many of them were from our academy. I think the youngsters have done themselves proud with their outing today.”