ISL 2018-19: Steve Coppell - ATK attack boosted by Edu Garcia

Steve Coppell ATK
The ATK boss hopes that his players won't be lethargic after the lengthy break ...

The Indian Super League is back after a third hiatus this season and ATK are set to take on Kerala Blasters in the first game.

ATK are just four points below the top four after 12 games and have a chance to qualify for the playoffs if they do well in their last six games.

ATK's next opponents Kerala Blasters have are on a win 11-game winless run and their only win of the season so far came against Coppell's men in the season opener. 

Ex-Blasters and current ATK coach Steve Coppell mentioned that ATK is his primary focus and refused to delve into what is happening at Blasters.

“We have our own agenda. We primarily focused on ATK and what we need to do.

“Kerala are a team that I have a huge admiration for. I am always mindful of what is going on in Kerala. I look at them as a team who have a got a new coach.  It is inevitable that the players would everything to impress their new coach.

“They are a team with very good individuals. That gives us issues and we know we have to be at our best to get something from the game. That is my only focus,” the Englishman said.

The 63-year-old has set his priorities set and will be working towards getting his team to playoffs.

“It is hard to try and predict what they are going to do. We know our agenda. We certainly have to improve. Our focus has to be more internal than reactionary to what the opposition is going to do.

“We worked very hard in the last couple of weeks Because ultimately, that will be what either puts us in the reach of the playoffs or not.”

ATK vs Kerala Blasters

Coppell hopes that the players are as enthusiastic as they were before the break and lethargy won’t be an issue the team will have to deal with.

He said, “The good thing about the break is that is been the same for everybody. That is what you can ask for in football.

“The teams that come out of the block quickest will have an advantage. That is the challenge that we have set ourselves. We are playing against a team who have got a lot to prove”.

ATK roped in Spaniard Edu Garcia and India international Pritam Kotal in the winter transfer window to bolster their squad. Coppell is excited to see the new signings make an immediate impact and gel in with the squad.

“We have brought in some good players. Edu Garcia is a quality player. These players can only enhance our squad going forward.  I hope they can make a real impact, we need them to. It is important that the group responds.”

Nigerian forward Kalu Uche has been a victim to an unfortunate and has seen his minutes reduced at ATK. The gaffer hopes that the club won’t have to deal with anything like that again. ATK have a poor record when it comes to injuries in the last two seasons. 

Kalu Uche ATK

“The first two years in the ISL. I hardly had an injury. We did have some injuries this year, Kalu (Uche) with his issues. It is inevitable that you are going to get injuries. I don't think it is anything to do with training. I think it’s just the swings and roundabouts of football. I hope they will now go a long way without any problem."

The Englishman hopes that Garcia will fix the problems concerning the creativity in midfield. With Uche returning from injury, Coppell believes that the attack is now potent.

“Our problem has been scoring goals and converting chances. There was a window of opportunity to sign after his spell in China. We have Kalu coming back. We thought Edu would complement our attack going forward in creation and conversion of chances. It would give us more power up front,” he said.