ISL 2017: Jamshedpur FC's Steve Coppell fine with 'defensive' tag

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The English coach was pleased that his team picked their second away win of the ISL season…

Jamshedpur FC picked up three crucial points at Bangalore as they downed Bengaluru FC 1-0 thanks to a late spot-kick by Trindade Goncalves.

Both teams had their chances to win the tie but it was an error by Rahul Bheke at the death which gifted the opposition an opportunity to pick three points.

Steve Coppell believes that his side gave a good account of themselves given that Bengaluru FC, who apart from the defeat to Chennaiyin FC last Sunday, have looked strong on home soil.

“Of course, I’m happy with the way we played. To come here and win... apart from the Chennaiyin game, they have looked quite strong and competitive. So we had to prepare well for their strengths. They had some opportunities in the second half, but we looked a little bit more threatening as well. We executed our plan and I am happy with the three points.

“The game was based was fine margins. They did have better chances but we got a little bit sloppy in a certain period in the second half. Subrata (Paul) made some good saves and on the other end, Jerry (Mawihmingthanga) gave us a good chance. We also won the penalty. It was always going to be a very close match. So I am delighted that we got the edge,” said the former Bristol City manager.

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Coppell brought in Sameegh Doutie late in the game in order to run at the tired Bengaluru defence, a move which earned them a penalty. The English coach was asked if it was his plan to take advantage of Bengaluru’s fatigue given that this was their third game in seven days.

“Obviously playing three games in seven days is demanding. Sometimes in ISL, the schedule can determine a whole lot and have a big influence on the results. To play two home games back-to-back can be demanding in some other ways. We could guess the changes that they would make because they had played mid-week.

“We did a slight change in shape in the second half to become a more part of the game and add more impetus to the game. This was another stoic display, the best way to put it. After the defeat at home to Pune, we wanted to make amends and this win will help,” he opined.

On being questioned if a point would have pleased him, Coppell answered in the affirmative.

“Yes, definitely. To come here it is difficult. But it is a really good surface. If you want to play football, this is perfect. To look at the points is immaterial. I look at the performance, commitment, and the determination. I would have still applauded the team if they came with zero, one or three points,” he replied.

Mehtab Hossain picked up an injury before the end of the first half which hampered the plans of Coppell.

“We always do a lot of travelling. So there we have to change a lot of beds. He has had a bad back for three days now, and it was obviously touch-and-go whether he played and it was fairly obvious from the first minute that he was not moving freely. So we had to make that change,” he explained.

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He pointed that his team haven’t been able to attack as much as they would have liked given that the pitch back home hasn’t been in pristine condition.

“We have been a bit compromised with the condition of pitch in Jamshedpur. Our pitch is new and therefore it does not bind pretty well. So that makes it hard to pass the ball. While we were away, the pitch has developed a little bit, got firmer. So we can try and play a more progressive brand of football. We have worked hard to be a good defensive unit from day one and if that's the label people give us, that is okay,” he responded.

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Coppell also mentioned that in the absence of relegation, teams have the license to play a more attractive brand of football.

“If there was relegation, people would have played different styles. Now people are not frightened to play free football. That is a bonus. We are a new franchise, and if we had to deal with relegation then we would have played differently. In American football, there is no relegation. It makes clubs stronger.

“In the Premier League, some clubs commit some so much money in player's contract, and when they get relegated they find themselves bankrupt. Not because I am frightened of relegation but I think no relegation makes stronger clubs,” he concluded.

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