Kolkata, Oct 3: Former champions ATK coach Steve Coppell said his team is still in the process of getting to know each other and it will take time to get going in full tilt. He made the remark ahead of their second Indian Super League (ISL) game of the season against NorthEast United here on Thursday.
ATK lost their opening encounter 0-2 against Kerala Blasters last Saturday and looked listless in the first half, especially up front.
“We need the personnel to do that (attack). The style we play is a reflection of the individuals we have in the team. We were six weeks away from starting when we got along in the pre-season. We have had some injuries. It (the team) is still forming,” Coppell told reporters when asked about the team’s lack of vision up front.
“It is still developing. I hope it still gels quickly. But it will take time. Therefore I once again say that teams with continuity have an advantage in ISL,” he added.
Nigerian striker Kalu Uche did not play the last game and Coppell said he is catching up at the moment.
“Uche was not with us for 2 weeks for visa issues. he is catching with us at the moment.”
The former Manchester United player, who coached Kerala Blasters and Jamshedpur FC before, stressed on retaining the ball, adding that his words gave it away too cheaply against Kerala.
“Ball retention is the biggest thing. We gave the ball away easily the other night. Moreover, it is so hot. When you don’t have the ball it’s more of an effort. I hope it will be better against northeast United. We just need to control the ball more which will give us more potential to go forward and attack,” Coppell said.
Asked about NorthEast, who played an entertaining 2-2 draw against FC Goa in their first game, Coppell said, “Great respect for them the way he sets up his team. Again elements of continuity from last season. In terms of imposing the style of play and the authority, they are a quality side. They have strong individual players. Tomorrow will be a tough game. Every game in ISL is tough.”
Northeast coach Elco Schattorie, meanwhile, said it would be a difficult game on the road against ATK, though they have done their homework.
“I have looked at their last game. I have noted points on where we could take advantage. But it will be a difficult match,” Schattorie said.
Quizzed about left-back Keegan Pereira’s fitness, the Dutch coach said, “We are still assessing. Hopefully, he will be fit. We will take a call tomorrow morning.”