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ISL 2018/19: 'Our objective is to get the ball to the right personnel', says ATK coach Steve Coppell ahead of NorthEast clash

421   //    03 Oct 2018, 20:57 IST

Steve Coppell during the match against Kerala Blasters FC (

ATK coach Steve Coppell is determined to rectify the mistakes his team committed en-route to their 0-2 defeat to Kerala Blasters FC in the opening night of the Indian Super League 2018. The former Manchester United player stressed that getting the ball to the key players was what they lacked in the previous encounter. The two-time champions are gearing up for their second match in the ISL against NorthEast United FC on Thursday evening.

During the pre-match conference, Steve Coppell mentioned that they did not distribute enough balls to their main attacker Manuel Lanzarote which was a reason for their lacklustre performance.

“That’s what we want. I’ve said right from the first time that our objective is to get the ball to our key personnel. In order to effectively get the ball, Lanza had to come deeper and deeper the other night. He has a terrific left-foot and is a fabulous talent in Indian Football. The higher up the field he gets the ball, the more dangerous he is,” said the ATK coach during the pre-match press conference.

NorthEast United FC coach Eelco Schattorie has been around the Indian football circuit for quite some time and is not a stranger to the conditions here in Kolkata. Steve Coppell lauded the efforts of his counterpart on how he has set up the entire NorthEast outfit.

Regarding Eelco, the ATK coach said, ”I have great respect for NorthEast and the way Eelco sets up his team. There’s an element of continuity from last year in their game. We know it’s going to be a really tough game. They are a very capable outfit and have some very strong individual players.”

Not retaining the ball was the main reason for ATK’s defeat against Kerala Blasters FC last Saturday, but the Sanjiv Goenka owned team hopes for a turnaround in this tie. “Ball retention it the biggest thing. We gave the ball away too easily the other night. Particularly when the conditions are so hot,” said Steve Coppell.

He added, “When you haven’t got the ball, it seems like more of an effort. Hopefully, that is something that’ll be better against the NorthEast. We need the ball more to give us more potential to go forward in attack.”

NorthEast United FC impressed in the last match against FC Goa, playing out a 2-2 draw in a riveting encounter at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium on Sunday. 

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