Guwahati: After winning just two of the total eight matches they have played in the Indian Super League (ISL) so far, defending champions ATK will look to get their campaign back on track when they take on an upbeat NorthEast United at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium here on Friday.
“Have you seen the situation of Real Madrid?” Said ATK assistant coach Bastob Roy. The La Liga champions after a fruitful campaign last term have slumped low and lie fourth in the league table 16 points adrift leaders Barcelona. “This is football, it’s part of the game and we are trying to come out of this situation. We still think we can make the playoffs,” he added.
Placed eight in the table ATK play away to Pune and hosts Chennaiyin next, both of who defeated them early into the season. But a win today can take them to sixth, just four points behind the third and fourth placed FC Goa and Pune and perhaps that is why Roy said – “We still think we can make the playoffs. The table is very unpredictable and with two wins in a row, we may be able to achieve it (top four).”
Failure to score goals have been their major concern this year and that they managed just six in eight matches is a prove of that. Although the issue subsidized a bit after the arrival of Robbie Keane, the Irish legend is doubtful after injuring himself against Bengaluru FC. Former Mohammedan SC player Roy however assured we are working towards it – to score and not concede.
The situation is no different on the other side of the park, with NorthEast United even further down at ninth with just seven points from the same number of matches. Their woes however seemed to have ended after former Chelsea manager Avram Grant took over from Joao de Deus.
They humbled the high-flying attacking football of FC Goa at home and will be raring to to do the same against the reigning champions, knowing that a win can help then leapfrog ATK to the eight position. “We need to improve a lot,” however said assistant coach Eelco Schattorie who also added, “I like to implement attacking football but for us to reach the desired level is difficult. So the immediate focus is to remain organised and be together. Hopefully that gets us some results.”
Like ATK scoring goals has been a big problem for them eve since Emiliano Alfaro decided to switch sides. Former Santos product Danilo Cezario has failed expectations and Schattorie said that there is no Messi (Lionel) or Ronaldo (Cristiano) into side to score goals everyday.
“We can’t train today to score and score tomorrow. That is not how it works. That only works when you have (Lionel) Messi or (Cristiano) Ronaldo.” But hard work and determination can as well be enough for a win showed the ‘Highlanlanders’ six nights ago and Schattorie hoped it should be enough to down ATK.