ISL: Coppell says new format is a step in right direction

“As a league the ISL has been short and sharp, and has been quite exciting with the league table changing with almost every game. It also remained an exciting spectacle on television, but if you ask me how beneficial was the tournament for Indian football, I would say ‘limited’,” opines the seasoned English manager.

Coppell feels the new regulation this season will see some changes in the way teams use their foreign players.   -  H. Vibhu

For the seasoned English manager, this will be his third season in the Indian Super League. Having guided Kerala Blasters to the final last year, Steve Coppell was of the view that extending the League to almost five months will help the country’s football, as the Indian players will be forced to consistently perform at a high level.

“As a league the ISL has been short and sharp, and has been quite exciting with the league table changing with almost every game. It also remained an exciting spectacle on television, but if you ask me how beneficial was the tournament for Indian football, I would say ‘limited’,” said the former England and Manchester United midfielder.

“If it has to benefit Indian football it needs to be a bigger league so that there is more demand on Indian players to raise their standard and produce better football. The change in the ISL format is definitely a step in the right direction and that, in the long run, is going to benefit the Indian national team,” Coppell, who coached noted English clubs like Manchester City and Crystal Palace, added.

Coppell feels the new regulation this season will see some changes in the way teams use their foreign players. “With the number of foreigners reduced this time, most of the teams will be looking to use them in the spine of the team. The foreigners are going to occupy positions like that of the centre-back, centre-halves and the striker. We will be certainly working that way, looking for stability in the centre of defence and midfield. We can also opt for a couple of quick strikers who can produce some goals for us. You are certainly looking to make the influence of foreign players as big as possible,” Coppell said.

The Jamshedpur FC head coach was also happy with the Indian players in his team. “The players’ draft this season was quite exciting as it had to incorporate two new teams in the League. It took quite a bit of planning but given the circumstances I am happy with the players we have signed. Now it is the question of getting them fit and making them play as a team,” Coppell said.

  Dugout videos