ATK put a slight hiccup in their opener against NorthEast United at home behind them and went on to gather seven points from their next three games. Head coach Steve Coppell wants to build on their form as he prepares his team for a difficult clash against Bengaluru FC.
“We always look to improve. We review our performances after every game and look at areas where we can improve. I don’t know about the momentum. A win at home is just another win. It seems that it’s hard to win at home in the ISL. But we won the last game and we’ll look to build a momentum going forward by winning again. We’ve practised hard this week. There are local players in the team going into the game with anticipation. We had a great crowd last time and I hope we can repay them with a win.”
The Englishman believes that it's too early to talk about favourites and the team is focusing on improving after every game as they aim to make it to the playoffs.
“I think that it’s too early to talk about the competitiveness in the league. We can make a better judgement after six games or so but even at the early stages a couple of teams have looked to break away.
"It’s yet to be determined as to who is likely to top the league and we will try to make advances. But every game is demanding. The challenges in the league, they’ve shown me that it’s a long season.
"There are so many changes within the season that can make a big difference, like key injuries but we have our front foot at the moment and are looking at ourselves. We’re trying to get better every game and get some good results”
The 63-year-old has a lot of respect for their next visitors Bengaluru FC but wants his team to focus on how they can improve as they look to keep a clean sheet for the first time this.season.
“There is a healthy respect for Bengaluru, going into the game but we need to look at ourselves. Every coach loves clean sheets, we work to try and get clean sheets. We have none so far and it’s probably our number one priority tomorrow, to get a clean sheet.”
“They have key players in their team and we have key players in ours. We will have to try and contain them (Miku and Chhetri). That’s the crux. It’s not about the tactics and formations but about the individuals performing and making a difference. We can’t lose sleep over our opponents. We need to focus on putting a good performance ourselves.”
John Johnson switched clubs to join ATK at the beginning of the season and Coppell confirmed that he will be using the defender's insights on his former team to halt Bengaluru FC.
“Bengaluru are a good side who played good football and try to keep possession. Johnson has an insight on the things they try and do and hopefully we’ll try and counter that. He’s been very important for us in the last couple of days.”
Manuel Lanzarote's versatility allows him to play as a number ten or in a more direct role and Coppell maintained that his role will depend on the situation tomorrow and the Spaniard can do well in both roles.
“The role of Lanzarote will depend on the situation of the game. Whether he starts in midfield or as a finisher, we’ll see. The finishers play massive roles, specialist roles. They can slot in from anywhere and change the emphasis of how you play”.