Super Cup 2019: Steve Coppell promises full committment from ATK against Chennaiyin FC

Coppell mentioned that there could have been a different interpretation to the suspensions given that ATK have played more than other teams....

ATK coach Steve Coppell expects an entertaining 2019 Super Cup semi-final clash against Chennaiyin FC at the Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, on Wednesday.

The Kolkata based side scored seven goals in their two games in the ongoing cup competition, having overcome Real Kashmir 3-1 and Delhi Dynamos 4-3 but the former Manchester City manager doesn't feel it will be only down to his side's attack vs Chennaiyin's defense.

"Every game is so different, you can never predict. If you look at the statistics, it may look that way. After 10 to 15 minutes of actual play is when you get a measure of how the game is going to be played out," said the 63-year-old.

"They are obviously a very dangerous side and they have ambitions to try and win this competition, as do we. So I think it will be a close encounter and as always I hope it is entertaining and I hope the best team wins," he added.

With Chennaiyin FC having qualified to the group stage in the 2019 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Cup and now just two games away from another final, Coppell suggested that the southerners are a much more motivated team.

"During the ISL season, fairly early on, they didn't have that oomph that they had last year. Their qualification to the AFC Cup, I think, has lifted the camp. Getting through at this stage of the Super Cup is an exciting time of playing cup football because it's just win or lose," he mentioned.

"That creates a slightly different feel in the dressing room to when you're playing league football. You always know in the league that most of the times you've got another chance and a defeat isn't as critical as here (Super Cup). You have to go forward, score goals and win the games to progress. It's more edgy. It's definitely a little bit more dangerous football."

ATK vs Kerala Blasters Pronay halder

Given that some I-League sides pulled out of the competition barring for the games that ATK had to play and that two yellow cards equal a suspension for the subsequent game, Coppell went on to point out that his side are at a disadvantage with Pronay Halder set to miss the clash.

"We have played more games than some of the other teams which puts us in a disadvantage in terms of bookings. Given the unique nature, this year of this competition, there might have been a different interpretation of the booking rule because nobody wants to see a team get through to the final on merit and then find that two, three or four players are not available for the final because of bookings. I don't think it's in the best interest of the competition," he explained.

However, he added that his players will not hold themselves back from playing their natural game in lieu of getting themselves booked.

"From my point of view, I don't want anybody to not be a 100 percent committed for the fear of getting a yellow card. If you're going on the field of play, fearful of getting a yellow card, then there is no way you can play at your best. If you're fully committment, does it always mean you go screaming into tackles and put yourself in a very vulnerable position? No, it doesn't," he said.

"Real committment is in your head, the way you use your legs and just giving your all for the team without overcommitting. It is a very thin line sometimes and the interpretation gets a little bit blurred with the referees but I don't think any of my players will be pulling out of any tackles for the fear of getting booked.

Chennaiyin v ATK

"You can only look at one game at a time. It will be stupid for us to project forward and plan before we are even in a position to get there. So we will be fully committed and we will take whatever consequences there are afterwards. Having said that, if you commit what the referee sees to be as questionable fouls, then you have to be punished but it becomes an even hollower competition if star players are not available to play on either side in the final."

Giving his take on Chennaiyin FC as an opponent, the ATK tactician observed, "Their key player is Raphael Augusto in possession, CK Vineeth has proved what a spectacular goalscorer he can be."

"The secret of their success last season was set-pieces and the number of goals they scored from set-pieces. As you saw against NorthEast [United], suddenly you see them a lot more potent in set-pieces. You have to be able to take care of what they do and at the same time, we have to hurt them.

"It's a tough challenge but the prize for either side is pretty much worth it. So you will find full committment from both the teams."

Super Cup DDFC v ATK

Balwant Singh has scored four goals in the 2019 Super Cup including a hat-trick against Delhi, which prompted Steve Coppell to laud the Indian striker's capabilities when unleashed as a proper number 9.

"When we came back from the end-of-season break. he has been right on the top of his game in training on a daily basis. During the course of the season, I blame myself for playing him in left side midfield, right side midfield, not often as not as a number 9. It's not the position he wants to play," Coppell explained.

"In the two games, you can see how much he relishes leading the line and being the number 9 we all know he is capable of. He has done terrific and I hope he continues that form tomorrow (Wednesday)," the Englishman concluded.