ATK head coach, Steve Coppell, has admitted that he was left disappointed with the decision made by his players, and questioned the red card issued to Sena Ralte in the first half. NorthEast United FC bagged their first victory, in their second game, by a score of 1-0 in their 2019 ISL campaign.
Steve Coppell has now lost his first two games of the ISL season after taking charge of ATK following a sub-par season with Jamshedpur last year. The Englishman was disappointed and blamed the loss on the red card to Ralte.
“It’s not a good idea to play 10 against 11 in any country. My player was guilty, perhaps a silly second challenge, and he got punished and we ended up playing, almost an hour with 10 men. It was cruel to lose to a set-piece goal like that. It was cruel for my players who put in so much into the game. But, the reality is, playing with 10 men isn’t a good idea,” Coppell said after the game.
“This league is a sprint, it’s not like a 100-meter sprint, it’s more like a 400-meter sprint. You can get over a bad start and that’s going to be our intention. We will do our best to get ourselves together now. We have 13 days to get back because of the international break, before our next game against Delhi and we will be working hard to make sure we’re ready for that game.”
Eelco Schattorie was delighted with the start of his team in this session, especially after the short critical span they had before the league. After Sena Ralte was sent off for ATK in the first half, a late strike by Rowlin Borges, his maiden league goal, sealed the tie for the Highlanders.
“NorthEast took a long time to gather four points last season and we did that in two games. Big compliments to my players, regarding wanting to work together. If I look at the game itself, I like to play attacking football and that means I like to dominate," Schattorie said during the post-match conference.
"Taking into consideration we had only two days to recover from the last game, we still weren’t on the fitness levels that we should be, but that is because of the pre-season. I was a bit frustrated with the way we played because I think, we were focusing too much on going forward rather than circulating. But to get away with three points is fantastic."
The Dutchman also spoke about the red card incident, and admitted lack of coordination in the midfield and experienced a failed attempts distributing the balls.
“Look, if you give my team a little bit of time and my team plays the style I want, then the red card is really good for me because you circulate the ball more and you wait for the right moment. Of course, the red card is always the turning point, but it always can’t be at your advantage. Because suddenly the players think it’s easier and they can move forward faster and I didn’t see it as a positive. But, as the game progressed they got tired and it was an advantage”, he said.
“For me, even if we lose, but if we play a good game and create chances, I’m happier most of the times, rather than, if we win and get away with a lucky goal or something else. The goal was fantastic. It was a well-taken corner that we studied and trained. But overall, I wasn’t happy with the play and delivery in the box. It’s a type of style that we have to be better at”, he confessed.