Iriondo: ATK ‘most difficult’ challenge we have faced so far

Jamshedpur FC were handed their first defeat of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 after going down 3-1 to ATK at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday. Roy Krishna scored two penalties while Edu Garcia registered the third goal for the home team. Sergio Castel scored Jamshedpur's only goal from the penalty spot.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, Jamshedpur FC head coach Antonio Iriondo conceded that ATK were the better side on the night but shared his reservations about one of the penalty decisions that went against his team. “They played better than us, but we should not concede penalties that are not penalties. My players told me than only one of them was a penalty,” he said.

However, the Jamshedpur boss also admitted that ATK were the ‘most difficult’ challenge his team has faced so far in Hero ISL 2019-20. “Among all the teams that we have played, ATK have been the most difficult. Obviously, because we lost. They have a very good team and very good players.”

With the league set for a brief pause with the international break setting in, the Spaniard opined that the respite may just be what his team needs to recover from the loss and come back stronger. “We have to improve almost everything. We are a new team with new players and a new style. We hope that with time and hard work we will keep improving and we will get better than this week.”

Jamshedpur FC lost their midfield maestro Piti in the first half, with the Spaniard limping off the pitch with an injury. “We haven’t confirmed with the medical team yet but it seems like he has a tear in his muscle. So, at least 21 days till recovery. But we need to confirm with the medical team after tests,” Iriondo said, providing an update on the severity of his key man’s injury.

Asked if the heavy rain somehow impeded his team’s performance on the night, Iriondo noted, “The rain falls for everyone, so it makes no difference. The pitch was amazing. It has great drainage, with so much water it was in good condition. Not only the pitch but the whole stadium is one of the best in the world.”

Read the Match report here.

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