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Bengaluru v ATK

ISL 2018-19: ATK coach Steve Coppell is expecting a tough game against Bengaluru FC

4:58 PM IST 12/12/18
ATK Steve Coppell ISL
ATK coach Steve Coppell chose to keep his cards in his pocket when asked about the possibility of Eugeneson Lyngdoh taking the pitch...

ATK have a daunting task ahead of them as they are set to take on an unbeaten Bengaluru FC at the Kanteerava Stadium on Thursday. ATK head coach Steve Coppell had no qualms in terming it as a 'tough fixture' where his team will 'try' for the three points. 

"I’m expecting a tough game. They are unbeaten. They are strong defensively and in the offense. It’ s a challenge for every team to try and beat them and be the first team to do so. It will be a tough game but we will try. We try to win every game. We don’t think about other options. I don’t know how to play for a draw. That will be the philosophy for tomorrow’s (Thursday) game. 

"Nothing has changed. The more time we spend with players the more the players can get to know each other. I can get time to try and develop strategies. We try hard on the training grounds to get better. The scheduling disturbs the flow of work you have been trying to do. Luckily for us, we have been getting decent results, I still think we can improve. Our goal is to get into the top four and we are working hard towards it," stated the former Kerala Blasters coach. 

Coppell believes that Miku's absence has not had an impact on Bengaluru. "They are winning just as easily without Miku. But we lost strikers too, Uche and Alfaro for instance. Both teams will be without their key players. It’s a different type of Bengaluru without Miku but they have shown that they are capable of winning without him."

The British tactician kept the cards close to his chest as far as Eugeneson Lyngdoh's chances are concerned. 

"I am not going to tell you about (Eugene) playing. But he has had his problems with injuries. We need to see the balance between foreign and Indian players. It is very competitive in midfield. So that will be a tough call for me to take tomorrow."

Coppell thinks that the break will make matters more complicated for the teams but will make the league more interesting.

"The break is tricky because we don’t know how long it is. I think after the break it will be just like the end of pre-season. For a lot of teams, the outcome of the season will be judged based on the games after the break. I think every team likes to be in a flow. There’s a routine that every footballer has accustomed himself so the break will make it difficult to adjust. But it makes the league all the more interesting.

"I think ISL has improved Indian football, you can see that in the rankings. The ISL has helped Indian players interact with world class players and learn from them. So, this has helped the Indian players and now the preparation is top quality and the skillset has improved. This is not an overnight success but something that has been achieved over five years," signed off the 63-year-old manager.