ATK head coach Steve Coppell was left disappointed after his side succumbed to a 1-3 loss to Mumbai City on Friday and conceded defeat in the race for the playoffs in the 2018-19 Indian Super League season.
After the game, Coppell said, “Very disappointed with the result. It was a difficult week for us to prepare for the game because we had some injury situations. We were short of a foreigner this evening. Edu (Garcia) was unable to train throughout the week. He battled through to the end despite a groin strain.
"Everyone knew about Mumbai’s pace and power through the wings and Sogou’s finishing. We didn’t handle them very well. We created our own mountain to climb. We had a goal back to get an opportunity. If we had converted chances, it might’ve been an interesting last 5-10 minutes. We never got our team into it, as such.”
ATK needed to win against Mumbai to stay in the race for a spot in the playoffs but the defeat to Mumbai has ended their pursuit.
“I think we’ve had some good players who are committed to ATK for longer and I would hope they’ll use this season’s experience to push on for next season. It’s going to get more difficult because of the possibility of more teams getting involved. The league will get more demanding so you need more good players who are resilient and have the ability to win games. We haven’t been consistent enough this season and I didn’t feel our balance of the squad wasn’t there.”
There were chants of “Coppell go back” after the game but the English coach is not too concerned, “The manager is always responsible for the team’s result. I fully understand the fans reaction and if that’s what people think, I can’t do much. I know I’ll sleep very well because I did my best for the team. I wouldn’t have changed anything for the team, we didn’t do as well as we were capable of doing more. Who knows whether or not I’ll be here next season. It’s not my decision. We still have games left this season.”
Coppell also revealed that Hitesh Sharma did not play a part in the game as he suffered from chicken pox.
"Hitesh was not involved because of that. Ashish came in for him. As I said in the matchday one, ISLneedsd to have a progression system from the academy to the reserve team to the main team. I hope they have a route to getting into the first team."