ATK coach Steve Coppell has praised the persistence shown by the players in the game against FC Pune City as they managed to beat them 1-0 thanks to a late goal. He also mentioned that the ATK players have worked hard to maintain their fitness which was quite visible as well in the Pune game.
ATK’s Gerson Vieira scored the winner in the 82nd minute of the game as the Kolkata-based franchise won the game in front of their home crowd against FC Pune City. With three points from this win, ATK has moved to the sixth spot in the points table while Pune is still at the bottom of the table. According to the ATK coach, the players kept on trying for the goal till the end moments of the game and he is delighted to see the persistence of his players throughout the game.
"I seem to remember not so long ago, we were conceding goals late in the game and people were saying we were not fit enough. So, you can see we’ve worked on our fitness. I think it was one of those games. To be fair to Pune, they had their selection problems. They made it difficult for us. There might have been the possibility of frustration creeping in, but we kept on going and, obviously, it was a very important three points for us," Coppell said during the post-match press conference.
Speaking about playmaker Manuel Lanzarote, the ATK coach said, "I think that was his best performance. In possession, he’s terrific. You just sort of switch on (when he has the ball) because you know something is going to happen. But today, he added different qualities to his game. He was dropping deeper, he was making passes, putting in good tackles. He was involved in a lot of things. He had a couple of set-piece opportunities. He hit the post. He invested himself a lot in the game. I think that’s the best way of putting it."
FC Pune missed top players like Marcelo Pereira, Diego Carlos and Emiliano Alfaro last evening but they put up a good show. Although their coach is disappointed with the way the result went against them but he lauded the under 23 players’ efforts in the game in Kolkata.
"I think we are in a tough position now in the league table. But you have to look at the positives. I think most teams in this league play with six Indian players, we’ve come out and put six Under-23 boys out there today. Some of our boys graduated from our academy and I’m very proud of their performance. I thought the circumstances were tough, and it's a tough place to come. The boys were obviously a bit nervous to start with and made some mistakes. But over the course of the game, they were good. They can hold their heads high. I think they did themselves
"The boys have done well to apply themselves to limit ATK to shots from outside the box in the first half. And even in the second half, that was their only clear-cut chance. I’m proud in the way the boys applied themselves."
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