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Indian Super League

ISL 2018-19: Steve Coppell - Jamshedpur FC are difficult to beat

16:47 GMT+4 02/02/2019
Steve Coppell ATK
Coppell hinted that he might give the likes of Manuel Lanzarote and Edu Garcia the license to maneuver in the attacking third...

ATK are eyeing full points when they take on Jamshedpur FC at home on Sunday in a crucial Indian Super League (ISL) 2018-19 encounter.

The Kolkata outfit, who are on the sixth position, desperately need a win to keep their hopes alive of reaching the play-offs.

“It’s not a question of throwing in the kitchen sink but we obviously have to score more goals. We have to create opportunities and do things we haven’t done in terms of shape.

“We have to be more unrestrained in terms of attacking. We have to play a little bit more off the cuff. We talk about (Manuel) Lanzarote and Edu (Garcia) who are capable of scoring out of nothing. The same for Jayesh (Rane) and Hitesh (Sharma) as well. We need the players to produce for us and where better than at the Salt Lake?” said coach Steve Coppell.

However, he stated that a defeat against Jamshedpur FC will not end their hopes of making it into the top four.

“We need a win right now. But at the same time, Jamshedpur also needs a win. It’s a crossroad game at the moment.

“No, I don’t think like that. Those things are outside my control. The only thing I can control is for the team to give their best performance,” said Coppell when asked if their hopes of qualifying would end should they suffer a defeat.

The star-studded attack force of ATK has not fired so far in the season. The Kolkata side have scored a mere 11 goals, which is the lowest amongst all 10 teams in the competition. Coppell acknowledged that his team have struggled in front of goal.

“It’s been an issue all season (attacking problem). We work very hard to try and create more opportunities. It may well be that we have a different approach tomorrow to have a more attacking threat.

“But you look at Jamshedpur, they’ve only lost one game and don’t give much away. It’s a kind of a cat and mouse game, a balancing act where you don’t want to make many go forward in fear of counter-attacks. We need to find the right balance between attack and defending.”

“They are obviously difficult to beat. They create many opportunities from set pieces and we have to be mindful of that. I know so many of the players that played with me last year. I know the strengths and weaknesses and I’ll hope to try and expose those as we’ll go forward. It’ll be a hell of a game for everyone watching,” said the former Crystal Palace coach.

The ATK fans will be keen to watch Lanzarote and Garcia combine in attack and hopefully, guide the team to a crucial win over Jamshedpur. Coppell suggested that he might give his attacking players some freedom in order to expose the chinks in the Jamshedpur back-line.

“Good players play together. I don’t really wish to put them in their straightjackets. It’s come to the part of the season where you want to give your match winners the freedom to win the match if possible.

“We don’t want to constrain them or put them in straightjackets. It’s an occasion where you give them the head and say play! The things that have been written about Solsjkaer at Manchester United, he’s allowed the boys to play and look at the change! Why can’t we do the same?”