ATK eyes first points against buoyant NEUFC

Host and two-time winner ATK will be looking for the first points of the new season when it takes on North-East United FC (NEUFC) in the ISL, on thursday.

“The team is still forming. I hope we gel quickly, but it will take time. Therefore, I once again say that teams with continuity have an advantage,” ATK’s new coach Steve Coppell said.   -  PTI

Host and two-time winner ATK will be looking for the first points of the new season when it takes on North-East United FC (NEUFC) in the ISL, here at the Salt Lake Stadium on Thursday.

ATK will be quite desperate for a favourable result as it tries to break the trend of reverses, which seems to be continuing from the previous season, after the 2-0 loss it suffered in the opening match against Kerala Blasters.

On the other hand, NEUFC appeared quite buoyant after holding the mighty FC Goa 2-2 in its first match at home in Guwahati.

In its first outing, ATK seemed to be overwhelmed by the attacking play of the Blasters, which successfully exploited the defensive problems of the host with two late goals.

“The team is still forming. I hope we gel quickly, but it will take time. Therefore, I once again say that teams with continuity have an advantage,” ATK’s new coach Steve Coppell said.

Blasters is one of the few teams in the tournament that have preserved the nucleus of the side.

Coppell, who has been given a new combination of players, hoped that his team gets into the rhythm quickly. “We gave the ball away easily the other night. I hope it will be better against NorthEast United,” Coppell said.

Gritty display

Despite having a rather moderate side built on a low budget, the visitor impressed everyone with a gritty display against FC Goa. “I have had a look at ATK’s last game. I have noted some points on which we will try to take the advantage,” NEUFC coach Eelco Schattorie said.

“We have had only two day’s rest from the last match. The team had a recovery session yesterday and I am hoping it regains enough fitness for the match.”