ATK are set to host Chennaiyin FC in their third home game of the ongoing Indian Super League (ISL) season at the Salt Lake Stadium, on Friday. The Kolkatan outfit's head coach Steve Coppell has admitted that his side haven't had the best of starts but that they have shown improvement in the last two games.
"It was obviously a slow start. The first game we lost 2-0 (against Kerala Blasters) and it wasn’t a good match for us. In the second game (1-0 loss to NorthEast United), we shot ourselves in the foot. We shut ourselves after a man was sent-off. Against Jamshedpur (1-1 draw), we fought hard. We look forward with optimism to the next few games. We will try and put us in a good position," he said.
ATK's last win was when they defeated Delhi Dynamos 2-1 in Delhi after the international break. As the side is looking for their first win at home, the Englishman feels that it is essential for a top team to have a good home record.
"A lot of teams are on the same level. The teams are beating each other very regularly and some have elevated themselves. We want to be at the elite level. For that, we need to win at home. Good teams win at home. We have to collect points in front our home fans and in front of the home ground.
"I think if we look at the stats over the last few years, there are not many teams who have had a dominant home record. To be a top team, you have to have a good record. We aspire to have a positive home record," he mentioned.
Coppell insists on giving Eugeneson Lyngdoh more time to get back to his best given that the former Shillong Lajong midfielder has got much minutes under his belt this season.
"Well, I have got 25 players. I have to make a choice. The centre of the park is really competitive. And Eugene is still coming back from knee injury. I’m sure when the opportunity does come, he’ll grab it with both hands and make himself a regular.
"Komal Thatal is still learning his profession. He has energy. It is important for us to have legs. He is bright and inventive. He is a good option for me to bring in fresh players after an hour. I hope he continues in that way and becomes a permanent starter," he assessed.
Coppell mentioned that the standings doesn't give a fair reflection of the strengths of any team per say.
"Early on in the season, you’re looking for a rhythm. You’re looking for familiarity between your players. You're looking to establish a style which can be successful. Until you get three-to-four games under your belt, you are searching a little bit. I think the time on the pitch is the most important thing.
"To be fair, it’s so early in the season that it (standings) won’t matter. The table doesn’t really mean anything until you get to six games. After getting to six games, you see a definite order. Before getting to six games, it could just be coincidence or how the fixtures have. But after six, you can see which cream will rise and which teams will struggle. Until then, a run of results can be a coincidence," he concluded.