ATK were finally back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over head coach Steve Coppell's former side Jamshedpur FC in Kolkata on Sunday.
The Liverpool-born manager was chuffed with the way his side notched up the victory. "Well, it looked solid for me. We had a real threat going forward and trying to use our pace and mobility to hurt them. We toyed with the idea of leaving that until the last half an hour.
"The shape fits a lot of the players. If you’re asking me now, I’ll probably say yes we did. I think we have recognized our strengths and weaknesses and our fitness levels as well. We have to see how the players react to this as we have two difficult games ahead."
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Both ATK goals came from freekicks won by new signing Edu Garcia, duly converted by skipper Manuel Lanzarote twice. Coppell was full of praise for the former Bengaluru FC man. "Edu is a quality player. You see that in his movement. He hasn’t trained this week at all. He had a knock on his ankle, but he came through tonight playing almost the full 90 odd minutes," he said.
Coppell further remarked, "He compliments players. Good players always compliment each other. The way he gets on the ball, not only effects the game but effects play"ers around him. That’s the real bonus for me. He has that drive and determination, which allows him to create the chances. He’s difficult to stop when he’s in full flight. It was a real bonus to bring him in January.
"Edu Garcia is a good player for me. When he runs with the ball, you need to stop him. I think ATK has signed a very good footballer. I think Edu will help them to attain their objective.”
Further assessing the game, the former Crystal Palace manager said, "Before the game, it was fairly obvious we had to win the game. We needed to attack better. We wanted to get Manuel into the field as he was determined. Arnab (Mondal) came in. He has been so diligent in training and I felt did a terrific job today. He’s feeling good as we all do.
"We want to make sure that this season lasts as long as possible. The first step on that to get the result tonight. The change was to add more pungent up front. I felt we needed a bit of more pace beyond the attack."
"Yeah, I would say that. But human nature is such that If you have something you have to protect it. At half time we needed to protect what we got.
"To be honest, they didn’t really create a great deal. I got very concerned when they scored. But I wasn’t that concerned not to get a win. They played a distinctive style which is hard to play against. But I’m delighted we got the three points.
"I felt it’s just a byproduct of protecting what we got. We’re training on not camping too deep in our box. I felt we were guilty of that. When we got half-clearances, we just squeezed out rather than putting it out. Every goal conceded is a concern. We don’t like conceding them and we’ll review the footage to do better the next time."
Lashing onto his detractors, Coppell expressed, "If we get clean-sheets, people say we're too defensive. If we concede, people say we're leaky in defence. I think the change information gave us a better chance of winning the game and also a better chance of losing a game. Football is a cruel game. You don’t always get what you deserve, so we’re looking forward now with four games to go and we want to play until March.”
“It was a game we had to win. Balwant (Singh), (Kalu) Uche and Jayesh (Rane) gave us a range of options. Andre Bikey was there. I want to play Komal (Thatal). I feel he’s a hell of a future, but it’s unfortunate the choice to leave him out. But it’s no reflection on his work as he’s doing really well and is a team player.