ISL 2018-19: Substitutions worked for ATK, says Steve Coppell

Super-sub El Maimouni scored an 84th-minute match-winner for Steve Coppell's ATK against Delhi Dynamos...

ATK head coach Steve Coppell is pleased with side's performance is their 2-1 win against Delhi Dynamos and felt his side did well for most of the game.

Balwant Singh's curler gave ATK the lead in the first-half. Pritam Kotal headed in the equaliser soon after the restart but Noussair El Maimouni came on and netted the match-winning goal. 

"I think we played well for most of the game. After they equalised we lost it for a little bit. I thought, all in all,l we tried to get forward. Especially in the first half, I was very pleased with the way we played.

"A superb goal from Balwant put us in front. We knew that there was still a job to be done. When they equalised, there was just a spell of five minutes where I thought we needed to calm down and retain possession a bit more and we managed to do that. At the end of the day, I’m very pleased to have a win at this stage of the season," Coppell said. 

Komal Thatal ATK

Former India U-17 star Komal Thatal was handed a rare start for the Kolkata-based club. He played 70 minutes and was then replaced by Jayesh Rane as ATK chased the game. 

"Komal did very well for us. He’s got energy, he’s got legs. He’s skilful on the ball. He likes having possession. I felt that we needed that little bit something out wide to try and provide some ammunition for Kalu who was a really good focal point of our play."

Jayesh Rane and El Maimouni came on as substitutes in the second half and the duo made an impact. Jayesh Rane picked up the assist as the Moroccan striker placed the ball into the net to score the winning goal. 

"Komal, I thought was just getting a little bit tired. I had Jayesh there. Jayesh almost started the game but I made the decision not to start him. So I knew Jayesh could do that job with fresh legs.

"Kalu was not part of the team and couldn’t attend a lot of training sessions. We couldn’t get his VISA. So I felt we needed Everton’s pace upfront to run us out of trouble. It was just the combination. Maimouni comes in. He’s got two good feet and some energy. So that was two substitutions that worked for once. There are an awful lot of times when the substitutions don’t work."