Kolkata: ATK have the perfect opportunity to record their second win in the fourth season of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) and bring back their campaign on track. They are up against the lowest placed team in points table and more importantly playing at in front of home crowd. Their opponent for the second Super Sunday game is Delhi Dynamos, a side which has lost four games in a row and will not have the service of their head coach at the technical line – being sent off by referee in the last game against Goa which they lost 1-5.
The Dynamos started with a 3-2 away win against FC Pune City, but since then, they have conceded 12 goals in four matches, scoring only twice in the process. The absence of Spaniard coach Miguel Portugal will only hurt them where it hurts.
“Psychologically, it will be difficult because the head coach. But it will be his ideas that will be imparted,” said assistant coach Shakti Chauhan.
“Unfortunately, we are losing games. But, if you see, in terms of keeping the ball, maintaining possession and attacking, we are doing well. But we end up on the losing side. Luck is not on our side. That said, we didn’t take the right decisions when the opportunities came our way,” he added.
Despite admitting that ATK will be more confident having finally recorded a win this season, Chauhan added that fans “will see a different Delhi Dynamos against ATK” and that the players “want to make a statement by winning three points”.
ATK’s record is not as bad as Delhi’s, but it’s still patchy enough to realise they’ve not hit top gear. Two draws, two losses and one win means the defending champions are in eighth place.
“Fantastic to finally get the first win of the season. Felt like we worked harder, battled hard and did what we had to win that game. Sometimes football is like that,” ATK head coach Teddy Sheringham said.
However, the former Manchester United striker is not taking Delhi too lightly. “They could have been three goals up in the first half but didn’t take their chances. But in terms of who was better in that first half (vs FC Goa), then it was Delhi and they still end up losing 1-5. Mistakes and goals change games. So I’m not taking them lightly,” the Englishman said.
Sheringham also said that he won’t be afraid to change things around if needed, hinting at a bolder style of management now that he has an idea of what the side needs.
With Christmas just days away from the fixture, Sheringham said the result of the game wouldn’t make or break any plans.
“We give a good account of ourselves against Delhi and then prepare for the next game. It’s as simple as that in professional football. I’ve played on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and on New Year’s Day so nothing changes,” he said.
What could change however, is the two teams’ fortunes. And both head coaches will be desperate to enter the holiday season in a festive mood.