ISL 2018-19: ATK's Steve Coppell happy with a point against Jamshedpur FC

ATK boss Steve Coppell expressed his disbelief at the decisions of the referee in the match...

ATK head coach Steve Coppell expressed satisfaction with a 1-1 draw against Jamshedpur FC at the Tata Sports Complex on Sunday.

Sergio Cidoncha's free-kick goal was cancelled out by Manuel Lanzarote's corner that hit the net. 

"After the first half, I was really pleased to go in at 1-1. They have got possession with potential. We looked to be chasing the ball a little bit," Coppell conceded.

"When a Lanzarote scored from the corner it came as an opportunity to make some changes in the shape of the team. The second half became more of a stalemate. Jamshedpur are a good side, they have got really good players. Good to come back with a point. It is a difficult place to play. I am happy with the point."

Coppell explained Kalu Uche's absence from the matchday squad after the coach initially thought that he would be fit to play.

ATK Steve Coppell ISL

"When I spoke with you (media) yesterday, we trained in the morning so I didn’t know about him. But later I got to know that he had some problem with his hamstring. His hamstring was tight.

"We thought that with treatment and a good night sleep it would be okay but he still felt his hamstring in the morning. With three games in 10 days, we didn’t take a risk. If it was a cup final he would have played. Of course, we missed him, he is a very good player. But the other players did well too."

The former Kerala Blasters gaffer was shocked by some of the decisions that went against his side. "The refereeing you saw some of the decisions I could not believe, the non-decision against my players. At times when it seemed they were blatantly fouled, (the referee waved play on). It didn’t seem even-handed."

Young winder Komal Thatal had a difficult outing against Yumnam Raju and Soosairaj on ATK's right flank but his coach is not too concerned. 

Balwant Singh ATK

"It was a difficult role for him (Komal Thatal) to play with Raju pressing him and Soosairaj coming in. The combination caused us a few problems. We expected it. We talked about it at halftime and then got a grip of it. Komal is only 18, he has great commitment and energy. He will be a part of the team for the rest of the season for sure."

Coppell also revealed that his team did not go into the match with any special plans for Jamshedpur's marquee striker Tim Cahill. John Johnson and Gerson Vieira did well to isolate the Australian striker who was replaced in the second half having failed to make an impact in the game. 

" (There was) No strategy for Tim Cahill. We have got two good centre-backs. They defended well. He just got one header chance in the second half. He got fouled a few times. Even during the goal, I thought it was never a foul. Pronay made a great challenge and the referee gave it a foul and they scored from it. But we came back later."