Yesterday the opening match of the ISL saw a change in legacy as Kerala Blasters FC beat their arch rivals from Kolkata- ATK with a margin of two goals to nil. It turned out to be a ‘painful lesson’ for ATK as their head coach Steve Coppell said, “We wanted to start the season with great optimism”.
When asked about the takeaways from this loss, the former Manchester United winger said, “The main take away I think is when you are playing in such a hot and humid condition you cannot give away the ball so cheaply as we did”. He was deep on the point that the team lacked a bit in composed possession that he expected in the second half.
The flying tigers got many chances in the first but they couldn’t send the ball perfectly to the back of the net as the gaffer joined, “We got the ball on so many occasions when we had time but we couldn’t get the ball line of the pitch” which led ATK to shatter their legacy of winning against the Blasters.
The tuskers turned out to be defensively superior as they didn’t allow some “real penetrations” or set-pieces to their oponents. It also made the red and whites “incapable of passing the ball down the Keralian central backs”. Coppell admitted that Blasters were the better side on the evening as he said,“Yeah! They were better than us tonight”!
ATK was lacking a focal point going forward which they got in Kalu Uche but the Nigerian joined the team early morning yesterday which forced Coppell to keep him back to the bench which definetly turned to be a cause of the frail begging. The gaffer thus brought Eugeneson and Kalu Uche as substitutes as he wanted “Eugene to settle down things in midfield and Kalu to create some attacking situation in order to win the game”.
People were a bit surprised to find Balwant playing as a winger and when we asked the gaffer about the cause he said, “In my mind’s eye I thought it was pace that can win the game for us”. “We wanted to give the ball to Lanza as much as possibleto create scoring options.”
“I had no intentions whatsoever to play defensive football but after the first goal the situation slip in a little from us. I am always branded a bit of defensive in India but it’s all about my career in England” was what Coppell had to say on ATK seeming extra defensive on the first match.
He assured that the team has a lot of things to do and work on and as it’s a brand new collection, it is a bit difficult to make up into a routine, rhythm and consistency in five to six weeks; as he thinks ATK will be soon be on line and on point to win this season of Hero Indian Super League.