ISL 2018-19: "Today you saw a fatigued NorthEast side" Assistant Coach Shaun Ontong
NorthEast United FC drew ATK 0-0 in their final home game of the calendar year. With this draw, NorthEast climbed up to the second spot in the league standings with 20 points from 11 games. The game, in general, was a dull affair with no team creating any clear-cut chances.
NorthEast United FC assistant coach Shaun Onton who addressed the post-match press conference said "We are very happy and pleased with the result today given the circumstances and our schedule. Today what we saw was a very fatigued NorthEast United team."
Speaking about their third consecutive draw, the Aussie coach of NorthEast United FC said that no teams take the field to play for a draw and that they were happy with the result. It's just that they didn't create as many chances as they would have liked.
Croatian centre-back Mislav was injured in the early stages of the game and Shaun said that they have to assess the situation only then can they comment regarding the injury but, he didn't rule out fatigue as being one of the causes for the injury.
ATK gaffer Steve Coppell felt that they should have won the game even though they didn't create that many chances. The Englishman said that they should have gone back home with all three points because they had the upper hand in the game.
ATK have had a lot of injury concerns regarding their strikers, with Kalu Uche and Alfaro both being ruled out for the season. The former Manchester United winger Steve Coppell said "Of course losing our main strikers has an effect on the game plan, but I am very happy with the way Balwant has been playing this season for us. He was brilliant today and had an excellent chance to score also. The way he ran and created openings are also very pleasing."
The teams have one more round of games left before the six-week international break, and Steve Coppell felt that the break sums up this season of the ISL "If one sees it then it is an International break in October. Then International break in November and now a six-week International break in December January, so it is like few games International break and few games. It really breaks down the rhythm that the teams were having."
NorthEast United FC assistant coach Shaun Ontong said "Well I haven't faced anything like this (a six-week international break in the middle of the league season) in my entire career as a player and coach so I really can't comment on the effect it would have on the team. What we can do is regroup after a short holiday and work on the training ground and see how it goes from there."
NorthEast United are in the cusp of making their first ISL playoffs but according to their Assistant coach the team isn't thinking that far ahead are playing it by the saying 'One game at a time'.
ATK youngster Komal Thatal who spoke to Sportskeeda after the game said he was delighted to be a part of ATK this season and that Steve Coppell and players like Lanzarote have been helping him a lot during training. "It was a very big and good experience for to be called up for the national team camp. I got to learn a lot of things from the camp." is what Komal had to say about his recent National Team Camp call-up.