Coppell, Lobera satisfied with players despite goalless draw

Two-time Hero Indian Super League (ISL) champions, ATK held free-scoring FC Goa to a goalless draw at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Wednesday. Both teams had enough chances to nick the tie, but neither were ruthless enough on the day. The point takes the Gaurs back to second in the table while ATK remain in sixth, two points off the final playoff spot.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, ATK boss Steve Coppell seemed unsure as to whether the result was a positive or negative one for his team in the long term. “I think time will give me the conclusion. For us to keep Goa quiet, they had two good chances early on when we were trying to get used to our formation and what we were trying to do. After that, I thought we had the more clear-cut opportunities. To keep Goa quiet is an achievement in itself but maybe, with time it might be points dropped rather than gained. Time will tell,” he said.

ATK did well to shackle Ferran Corominas by denying him any space or time to work with and Coppell valued the collective effort of his players. “Yes, they got really good players. The core of the team has been together for two seasons now and that familiarity is hard to achieve in a short space of time. From what we wanted to achieve, I think we did well. We kept Coro quiet. But he’s still always dangerous. He only needs one mistake, one lapse in concentration, and he takes advantage. So, that was a team achievement. But we have to start taking more opportunities ourselves. We are solid but now we need to be a little bit more expressive,” Coppell remarked.

Goa’s head coach, Sergio Lobera on the other hand felt that both sides had equal amount of chances to steal the win and hinted that the result was a fair one. “I think both teams had equally fair amount of open chances. I think the one that dropped to (Mourtada) Fall is quite a good chance. Towards the end as well a chance went begging for us... I think both teams had equal amount of open chances,” the Spaniard said.

Lobera also commented on Corominas’ struggle to cope with the physicality of the ATK defence. He felt the center forward did his best but was marked out by a combination of ATK players. “For me as a coach you play like that. If you analyze as a spectator, and because he didn’t score it might feel like he didn’t play well today. For me as a coach I think he played well for the team today. It’s very difficult to play against a team who put so many people of their own team in their half. Because as a forward when you receive the ball, there’s at least seven players around him. Today I think, ATK received what they wanted, which was a draw,” he said.

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